You’ve probably heard the saying “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.”
Now whether you’re referring to a canine or a human, the brain should be excluded from this category!
After all, you can rewire your brain with certain exercises.
Your brain is powerful and although it’s not a muscle, it does function similarly to one with consistent repetition of skills and growth through learning and development.
These are extra important in order to avoid cognitive decline as you age.
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Strengthening your brain as you age
Being able to strengthen your brain as you age has many benefits that we use on a daily basis including improved memory, logical decision making, and greater self-awareness and self-control overall.
Recently, a study was completed by Nature Human Behavior that found that some brain functions continue to improve into our 70s and even possibly into our 80s.
This study found that participants aged 58 to 98 that practiced forms of executive inhibition and orientation were able to improve them over time.
Executive Inhibition refers to your ability to control your impulses, make effective decisions through reasoning, and your ability to focus on goal-setting and accomplishment.
By being able to partake in delayed gratification and control one’s impulses you’re able to maintain a sense of control over oneself at the same time.
This allows you to make proper decisions based on logical and practical reasoning in order to reach those goals and those who were seen to do so, also saw an increase in the majority of their executive functioning abilities.
Orientation refers to your self-awareness of who you are, your location, and the time in which you are in.
By raising your levels of self-awareness around your body, your thoughts, and where you are in the world, you’re able to be conscious of your surroundings and increase your spacial orientation to where you’re able to navigate appropriately and remember directions.
It has been widely assumed that these functions decrease with age, however this study proves otherwise to the point where you’re able to decrease the potential of cognitive illnesses by doing so.
How to stimulate your brain
In trying to increase your executive inhibition and orientation functions of the brain, there are many ways that you’re able to reduce the risk of cognitive decline including:
- Playing memory or strategy games that require brainpower to win including games such as sudoku, puzzles, card, and board games.
- Learning a new skill such as how to play a musical instrument or how to speak a foreign language
- Engaging in enjoyable hobbies such as sports clubs or dancing, especially if done in a group setting.
The more that participants in the study were able to engage in these types of tasks and activities, the stronger their brain functions of executive inhibition and orientation became.
It works if you work it
Just like other organs and muscles of the body, the more that you work and train your brain the better it will become in the longrun.
All habits that we learn in life must be applied consistently for the results to be shown and training your brain is no different.
You must be consistent in bettering your brain health and growing in ways that allow you to test the strength that you are gaining.
Decline only occurs when we neglect our health and place it on the back burner, by taking the simple steps listed above you’re able to start strengthening your brain today and for in your old age.
We often think that brain development ends while you’re young, when in reality, there are ways that you’re able to train your executive inhibition and orientation skills to where you’re able to decrease the likelihood of cognitive illnesses and strengthen your brain in the process.
Veríssimo, J., Verhaeghen, P., Goldman, N. et al. Evidence that aging yields improvements as well as declines across attention and executive functions. Nat Hum Behav (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41562-021-01199-1