Older & Wiser

In her book, “Make Your Brain Smarter,” Sandra Bond Chapman, at the Center for Brain Health at the University of Texas at Dallas, shows how to improve brain performance for all ages, something that is getting more and more important. While in the US today life expectancy is about 80 years old, as time goes on we can expect to live longer and longer. It’s now shown that girls have a one in three chance and boys a one in four chance of living to 100.

At present, according to Dr. Chapman, our cognitive brain performance peaks in our early forties, which means that memory, thinking speed, decision making, problem solving and reasoning start declining for the last half of our life. It’s important that we keep our brains in good repair, doing all we can to keep our brains fresh. Here are a few tips from the Dr. Chapman:

1. Employ a “Five by Five” principle, taking a break from whatever you’re doing at least five times each day for five minutes. This gives your brain time to reset.

2. Practice “synthesized thinking”. Stepping out of the routine way you describe things as our brains become bored with routine, since the brain is was built to shift between details and the big picture use differing types of descriptions.

3. Stop multitasking. Too much multitasking causes a slip in accuracy and performance. Instead of multitasking, allow uninterrupted focus on one thing for at least 15 minutes at a time and gradually increase those intervals.

4. Move your feet. New research has shown that aerobic exercise stimulates positive brain change and memory gains faster than it was ever thought. Heart rate elevating aerobic exercise three times each week increases brain blood flow to key memory centers.

Take breaks, concentrate on individual tasks, keep moving and think in different ways are some of the keys to keeping your brain healthy and working smarter. Give it a shot, as Dr. Chapman says, “Boost your brainpower! You have nothing to lose.”

A tip of the glass from me to you!

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