Put Your Brain to Work and It Will Work for You
We've all seen the news: we can affect how our brains work. Neuroscience tells us that we can increase our chances of maintaining our mental edge and functional independence throughout our lives. How? By working to keep our brains fit the way we work to keep our bodies healthy.
What you do everyday matters to your brain. The choices you make, your level of physical and mental activity, your social life, diet, and sleep habits-all these things can affect cognitive fitness: a state in which we are performing well mentally, emotionally, and functionally.
What Does it Mean to be "Brain Fit"
Notes from the Lab: Research studies in many countries have found four factors that may predict maintenance of cognitive function.
1. Increased mental activity
2. Increased physical activity
3. Increased levels of social engagement
4. Control of vascular risk by:
a. Controlling weight
b. Monitoring cholesterol
c. Monitoring blood pressure
d. Not smoking
Everyone knows what a fit body looks like, but fit brains, which don't boast rippled muscles or six-packs, are tougher to distinguish. Brain fitness is a state of mind in which we are performing well cognitively and emotionally. When we're cognitively fit, we're maintaining our mental edge, staying sharp, aging successfully. Brain fitness is not only the absence of disease either Alzheimer's or other types of dementia; it is also the preservation of emotional and cognitive well-being throughout our working years and beyond.