We’ve all heard of physiotherapy to help us manage pain with muscles and joints, to keep fit and healthy, and to get back to doing what we love most. But have you ever considered doing “physiotherapy” or exercises for the brain?
The brain is not a muscle or a joint, but it is extremely responsive to training. If you train your brain to think quick, it will be quick. If you train it to be attentive, it will be attentive. And similarly, if you train your brain to be lazy, it will be lazy. It is essential we train our brains well, so as we age we can maintain our mental health and prevent the wide range of symptoms associated with Alzheimer’s disease, such as dementia, poor memory and poor judgement.
Research over the past 15 years have shown us using our brains to solve puzzles, find solutions to complex problems and engage in activities in society can delay the onset of the symptoms associated with Alzheimer’s disease. These puzzles could be as simple as a maze or as complex as a crossword. A variety of puzzles are also beneficial as they train different parts of the brain, such as Sudoku puzzles for numerical training, crosswords for vocabulary training and “what’s the difference” puzzles for spatial training.
So how do we train our brains to think quick? It is as simple as doing activities quickly, or exposing yourself to an environment where you must think quickly. Examples include negotiating traffic when crossing roads, completing your shopping in a set pre-determined time or completing puzzles within a certain timeframe. Similarly attention and memory games are excellent to build your attention span and memory. And if we don’t do anything, our brains become lazy and unable to respond quickly or attentively when we want it to.
To age well and ensure we remain mentally healthy for as long as we possibly can, spending as little as 30mins a day doing puzzles could be the answer. Also engaging with friends and society in activities outdoors will help keep your brain functioning at its best.
Remember - If we don’t use it, we lose it!
And here’s a puzzle to get you started on regularly training your brain! Can you get from one opening to the other?
If you have any further questions about memory and brain training, speak to your GP. To keep your body as young as your mind, consult your local Physiotherapist or contact us at Lifestyle and Sports Physiotherapy on (02) 46473373.