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How To Lower Your Brain Age

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Review of “Brain Games #1:  Lower Your Brain Age in Minutes a Day (Volume 1)
Date:  August 29, 2020
Best place to buy:  Amazon.com
Price:  $8.69  (spiral-bound)

This book was developed to help readers increase their memory, sharpen their reasoning, and expand their creative thinking.

Your mind is your most important asset
It is more important than your house, your bank account, and your stock portfolio…  What can you do to sharpen your mid and protect it from decline?…We turn to cutting-edge research for the answers to this question.

Protect and enhance your brainpower
As discovered by modern-day neuroscience, our brain is a far more elastic organ than was previously thought.  In the past it was believed that an adult brain could only lose nerve cells (neurons) and couldn’t acquire new ones.  Today we know that new neurons – as well as new connections between neurons – continue to develop throughout our lives and even well into advanced age.  This process is called neuroplasticity.   The brain is a very complex organ with different parts in charge of different mental functions.  Thus, different cognitive challenges exercise different components of the brain.   We know this from research experiments  created from real-life circumstances and neuroimaging.  Some say that such technologies  as MRI  have  done for our understanding of the brain what the invention of the telescope has done for our understanding of the planetary systems.

Did you know…?
Research has demonstrated that certain areas  of the brain exhibit an increased size in those who use those parts of the brain more than most people.   For example, researchers found that the hippocampus (the part of the brain responsible for spatial memory),  was larger than usual in London cab drivers who have to navigate and remember complex routes in a huge city.  Similarly, studies revealed that Heschl’s  gyrus,  a part of the temporal lobe of the brain involved in processing music, is larger in professional musicians than in musically untrained people.  And the angular gyrus, the part of the brain involved in language, proved to be larger in bilingual individuals than in those who speak only one language.   See my blog entitled “The Origins of Brain Training“.

The size of the brain enlargement was directly related to the amount of time each person spent in the activities that rely on the part of the brain in question, showing that cognitive activity directly influences the structures of the brain by stimulating the effects of neuroplasticity.

Diversify your mental workout
It is also true that any more or less complex cognitive function – memory, attention, perception, decision-making, problem-solving – relies on a whole network of brain regions rather than on a single region.

The more vigorous and varied your cognitive challenges, the more efficiently and effectively they will protect your mind from decline.  Your cognitive workout will benefit more from a greater variety of exercises than from doing only crossword puzzles and Sudoku.

The puzzle selection in this book has been guided by these considerations – the roles played by the brain’s different  parts in the overall orchestra of your mental life.   Diverse mental activity is the best treatment for protecting and enhancing your mind.

The publishers of this book have assembled as wide a range of puzzles as possible, offering your mind a full workout.  There is a range of difficulty for every puzzle type, producing an ideal  Cognitive workout regimen.  In any one cognitive workout session, have fun by mixing puzzles of different kinds.  This book offers enough puzzle variety to make this possible.

Research has proven
…that people engaged in mental activities as a result of their education and vocation are less likely to develop dementia as they age.   In fact, many of these people demonstrate impressive mental alertness well into their eighties and nineties.

It is important for you to find the “challenge zone” that is appropriate for you.

Stretch your mind
The degree of effectiveness of puzzles as brain conditioners is not the same for all types of puzzles.  Some puzzles only test your knowledge of facts.  Although such puzzles may be enjoyable and useful in conditioning your brain, they are not as useful as those requiring you to transform and manipulate information or do something with it by logic, multistep inference, mental rotation, planning and so on.   These  are more likely to give you the feeling of mental exertion, of “stretching the mind”, thus better for your brain health.

Stay Sharp
Cognitive decline frequently sets in with aging, often affecting  certain kinds of memory and certain aspects of attention and decision-making.  So it is particularly important to introduce cognitive exercise into your lifestyle as you age to counteract any possible cognitive decline.  Cognitive exercise is also important for the young and the middle-aged.  We live in a world that depends increasingly on the brain rather than the brawn.  It is most important to be sharp in order to get ahead in your career and to remain at the top of your game.

How often should I exercise my mind and for how long?
Think of it as in terms of an ongoing lifestyle change and not just a short-time commitment.  Regularity is key .  Do these exercises regularly.  The results are best when cognitive exercise becomes a lifelong habit.

Exercises increase in difficulty
The exercises get increasingly more difficult as you progress through the book.  Included in the collection are puzzles of every type:  anagrams, crosswords, cryptograms, drawing exercises, language, logic and math puzzles, mazes, memory, observation and perspective puzzles, sequencing, visual logic puzzles, and word searches.    Puzzle solutions are provided in the book’s final section.

Have fun doing these puzzles
Now that you’re aware of the great mental workout that awaits you in this book, the publishers hope that you’ll find these puzzles FUN.    You’ll discover that, by cracking them, you have been training and improving your mind. 

ENJOY YOUR BRAIN WORKOUT AND GET SMARTER IN THE PROCESS! 

Pros:  I’m a firm believer in exercising my mind and I have obtained great results doing that!  Brain Games – Lower Your Brain Age in Minutes a Day contains printed exercises, which some might prefer to online exercises.

Cons:  None that I can think of.

 

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