As we get older our brains change. We lose cognitive function – our ability to think, remember, and problem solve declines. While there is no cure for this, there are many things we can do to keep our minds sharp. At MathClinic-plus, we have put together a list of tips that will help you stay mentally fit during the summer.
With many of our elementary school, highschool, college and university students off for summer break, there is less mental stimulation occurring. Scientists have discovered that when you engage your mind, you actually grow new neurons in your brain. These new neurons provide a protective buffer against future cell loss. Scientists have also found that engaging your mind stimulates new connections between nerve cells. This helps the brain develop its own functional reserve, providing a layer of protection against later cell loss. Here is our list of tips to ensure mental stimulation:
- A Healthy Diet and Exercise Is Important to Cognitive Function
A balanced diet can help you stay mentally sharp. Foods high in saturated fat, like fried foods, biscuits or pastries, can slow down your thinking. Instead, try eating foods rich in omega 3 fatty acids, like oily fish, eggs, nuts and seeds. Exercise also is important for your mind as it improves your mood and overall health. It boosts your energy levels, reduces stress, improves self-esteem and confidence, and even helps you lose weight. Exercise also improves your memory, concentration, and problem solving skills. A healthy diet and exercise offer plenty of benefits in addition to the ones that benefit our minds!
- Continue Learning New Things
One of the best ways to keep your mind sharp is to simply continue to learn new things outside of school. You can choose a topic or hobby that interests you the most and learn more about it at your own pace. Learning about new things is a great way to mentally stimulate yourself over the summer while away from school as you are motivated by a simple interest in the topic rather than learning for purely academic reasons. New things to learn can include how to play an instrument of your choice or new skills such as how to code or even knit! The topics are endless.
- Practice Reviewing Knowledge You Already Know
Another great way to use your brain is by utilizing knowledge you already have. This can include simply reciting knowledge you have on a topic by writing it down or explaining it to a friend/family member. This can also include performing skills you already know, such as playing a musical instrument you are already proficient at or fixing mechanical parts on a car with prior knowledge of how to complete the task. Tasks that require some degree of recollection are a great way to keep your mind active without the pressure to learn or obtain any new knowledge!