Often people ask themselves: “How long can I remain mentally active? Until what age can I retain good attention and good memory?” The authors of the books support the opinion that physical and cognitive exercises can slowdown the aging process. They believe that the main goal is to develop new skills and to achieve a sense of optimism.
According to the scientists, the four critical pillars to harbor a healthy and clear brain are:
- Aerobic exercises that enhance rate of neurogenesis, which is the growth and development of nervous tissue
- Healthy nutrition – a great dietary model is the Mediterranean diet consisting of fruits, vegetables and Omega-3 obtained from fish but not through supplements
- Novelty, variety and ongoing challenge of mental activities
- Stress management
You should think in which of these areas you may be weak. If you are always eating fast food, you may reduce your consumption in order to improve. If your lifestyle is mostly sedentary, a two-hour weekly cardio activity may be an opportunity for you. If you are working in a very boring, routine job, you may find something more creative and interesting. In order to change your life, you should integrate all these pillars and create your personalized action plan with clear priorities. You should train every day to achieve desirable results in improving brain functionality. In addition, you should realize that useful training is required to make efforts and overcome difficulties. We know that you can strengthen body by increasing the intensity of exercise. If you always use the machine at the same difficulty level, you do not develop your muscles. Similarly, the brain training has to combine two things: effort and practice.
Alvaro Fernandez and Dr. Elkhonon Goldberg recommend that people should seek novelty. You must crave for newness. You can change something only by changing something in your habitual life. It is very important to spend time doing something real, such as learning a new language or learning to play an instrument. You should strive for the novelty, seek and find it and should enjoy the novelty. You always have opportunities to get new knowledge and develop your brain by obtaining new experiences. You should import novelty, talent, joy and curiosity into your life.
Your laziness and stress may be obstacles in your brain development. But to achieve your goal, it deserves your attention and needs efforts in order for new neural connection corresponding to new skills being acquired in the brain. You may manage your emotions and control them by learning how to breath and how to meditate or by monitoring your biofeedback.
It is very important to control the brain and not allow others to manage it. Unless you develop your brain, outsourcing thinking and analysis to TV and other media may end up taking over your brain and manipulating your consciousness. The authors of the book think that the biggest waste of time is watching TV. The average American watches TV four hours a day; when people grow old, they spend more time on this pastime that is often futile and ineffective. This passive observation, in most cases, reduces the activity of the brain. In conclusion, only your laziness may be an obstacle to learn something new but not your age.
“The Sharp Brains Guide to Brain Fitness: How to Optimize Brain Health and Performance at Any Age “ by Alvaro Fernandez, Dr. Elkhonon Goldberg
Svetlana Stroganova, Nikolai Shmelev