AvoidingThe Brain Drain

Posted on February 7th, 2012, by iMinerva

Woman Doing Crossword Puzzle in Bed

I spent the weekend at the cottage with my two favorite Gal Pals (GPs).  We sat by the fireplace, talked, read, drank wine, played Clue and laughed – a lot … all activities we don’t usually take time for….except maybe the wine.  It turns out these were all healthy activities – part of the brain gymnastics we should be involved in every day.

Now, I just found an article on About.com.Longevity with “Top 10 Ways to Improve Your Brain Fitness” confirming that our girls’ weekend was actually very good for us.  Here are a few of the brain gymnastics we did without even thinking about it:

1)Play Games –  Games like crossword puzzles, Scrabble, Sudoku, and Clue exercise memory, logic and vocabulary.  Dale also is beginning to use Boggle on a daily basis. It’s like Scrabble, but small enough to fit in your purse or desk drawer.

2)Tell Good Stories – It’s great to share experiences with friends while exercising the memory and the verbal hemisphere of your gray matter.  GP Dale is writing a children’s book, a longtime goal that provides a great opportunity to share stories with her granddaughters. 

3)Turn off the TV – Interact with friends and life instead of living vicariously and becoming a passive observer of life.  

4)Read Something Different – GP Kay was reading a Steven King novel, not her usual bookshelf selection, and her adrenalin was flowing with fear.  She also took time to give us a quick Book Club summary of the plot so that we could share her storyline anxiety.  I grabbed a Wall Street Journal and tried to understand the world’s economic mess – unsuccessfully, but then who does understand what’s happening.

5)Exercise Your Body to Exercise Your Brain – We took long walks in the cold, Michigan wind and let the breezes blow the cobwebs out of our brains.  We also did some heavy housework (not my favorite weekend activity) to brush away the sawdust and mud left from the construction/renovation process.  It actually felt good.

Nothing dramatic about any of this but certainly more fun and more longterm benefits than the evening I spent in the LaZBoy last night.  The only thing that was expanded was my derriere. 

Tonight I’m heading to the fitness center to challenge the treadmill and some weight machines.  My home weight machine – my scale – is getting ugly while my brain is turning to mush.  So, a little exercise while I read Newsweek, followed by a light and healthy dinner, a stab at the crossword, and an hour on the sofa with a cup of tea, the darling pups, and the novel I started last weekend.  A brilliant, brain-feeding plan for sure.



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