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 How to keep your brain young

As far as the structure of people's grey matter is concerned, once they're past the mid-twenties, it's downhill all the way as brains begin to shrink. Structural decline is inevitable and an inescapable fact of life. There are several things that people can do to help slow down Age Related Cognitive Decline (ARCD)

Reduce free radicals

If not kept under control, a free radical is to the structure and fabric of the brain what a bull is to a China shop. Free radicals gain access to the brain mainly through cigarette smoke, exhaust fumes and fatty foods. The best way of countering their damaging effects is by reducing intake of red meat and eating plenty of fruit and vegetables -the best sources of anti-oxidants, which mop up free radicals.

Take your brain for a walk

A litre of blood passes through the brain every minute. There's no space to store blood in the brain so it must receive a constant supply of nutrients. To make sure it gets all the supply, the heart has to be in a good condition. Exercise to keep the heart strong. Regular moderate to intense exercise keeps the brain functioning better for longer.

Get some hobbies

What sets the brain apart from supercomputers is its ability to physically change to meet new challenges. By consistently challenging it with fresh mental activities, the brain will be continually forced to restructure, rewire and build new connections to cope with the new demands placed on it. There are four hobbies that the Einstein Ageing Study observed were associated with a delay in the onset of dementia:

Learn a musical instrument

Playing an instrument involves manipulations of an object with various body parts to produce rhythmically precise sounds while listening to the sounds you produce.

Play chess

Chess requires potential moves of both players to be imagined and held in mind. The more moves in advance a person tries to plan, the harder the Frontal and Parietal Lobes of the brain works.

Shake a leg

Most dance styles require coordination of movement with those of a partner, which must all be synchronised to a musical beat. Physical contact also triggers release of oxytocin.

Start reading

Reading involves converting strings of letters into words, words into sentences and deciphering their meaning. Images are conjured up in the mind's eye and sounds in the mind's ear. A good mental exercise

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