In recent years there's been a huge push on brain training – that is, consciously exercising your mind in the same way that you would your body. In part, this is because of the rise in cases of Alzheimer's, which are unfortunately only set to increase with the ageing population. But there are things you can do to ensure your brain stays healthy for as long as possible. It's never too soon to start training your brain, but it's never too late either, so no matter what your age, here are some easy things you can do to exercise your mind.
Whether it's something ambitious like learning a new language or even something small like trying a new recipe, there's a huge value in learning something new. Various studies have shown that the act of learning something new, no matter what it is, has huge benefits for your mental health and wellbeing. Check out this handy guide from the Guardian on motivating yourself to try something different.
Keeping your mind healthy isn’t just about learning new things, it’s also important to empty your thoughts, as All About You points out. Research from the Massachusetts General Hospital in the US found that meditating can result in an increase in grey matter density in the part of the brain responsible for learning and memory.
Challenge yourself to short brain training exercises each day, such as Sudoku or crossword puzzles. There are also things you can do anywhere that don't cost anything, such as simple recall exercises – for example, you could try to remember what you had for dinner each night the previous week. The more you challenge your memory, the stronger it will become.