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Aging and Mental Agility

Allan Schwartz, LCSW, Ph.D. was in private practice for more than thirty years. He is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the states ...Read More

For those of our readers who are aging and for those who have aging parents accumulating research indicates that, in order to remain mentally sharp during the fifties, sixties, seventies and beyond it is necessary to challenge the brain. Try to imagine it as calisthenics for the brain. If people of any age want their bodies to remain agile, they must exercise. In the same way, it is necessary to exercise the brain according to the Mayo Clinic Health Letter.

As we all know there is a left and a right hemisphere to the brain so that, in effect, we really have two brains connected in the middle by a thick bundle of nerves called the Corpus Colosum. The right hemisphere of the brain is the center of imagination. Stimulation of the right hemisphere requires such activities as singing in a choir or band, knitting, learning to play a musical instrument or taking up an instrument after many years and learning art through art classes.

The left brain is the center of language, numbers and reasoning. Reading, writing, learning a new language, doing number and word games and balancing your check book without a calculator are activities that stimulate left brain abilities.

Additional activities for people are such things as meeting new people, memorizing poems, phone numbers or Shakespeare (among others) are brain stimulators.

Meditation is increasingly being shown to stimulate the brain plus it’s relaxing and relieves stress, tension and anxiety, all things that can interfere with mental functioning at any age.

In fact there is new research from Europe that shows that exercise stimulates the growth of new brain cells and stimulates the pathways between neurons so that depression is relieved.

For those of you who are aging please remember that "you are not getting older, you are getting better in every way…if you put in the effort. Therefore, read, exercise, do crossword puzzles, learn new languages, travel, meet people: Live Life Fully.

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