Early in my education I was taught that everyone was born with a set number of brain cells—so I’d better take care of them (i.e. Don’t use drugs!). It has long been recognized that our brain cells die off as life progresses, and so that was the accepted truth about growing older. All one could do was hope they didn’t wind up with dementia in the end.

Today we no longer need to have a “wait and see attitude” when it comes to our minds. The field of brain research has brought to light some exciting new discoveries. We now know that the brain is, indeed, capable of making new brain cells throughout life. Scientists have also discovered numerous ways we can bolster up our brain power by creating a brain reserve. Much like the Army’s Reserve, a brain reserve provides back up forces (extra brain cells) which can move into a front line position if and when the original brain soldiers suffer loss.

If you’d like to think faster, learn more, and forget less, today, tomorrow, and on into your sunset years, then I say “Let the games begin! One proven way to grow more brain cells and to strengthen the ones you already have is to incorporate some “mental gymnastics” into your day. In order to be effective, mental exercise must challenge your memory, focus, and concentration.

Here is a list of some playful ways to sprinkle some Miracle Gro® on your brain today:

  • Word search
  • Crossword puzzles
  • Sudoku
  • Picture/object search
  • Ball and Jacks
  • Concentration
  • Jenga
  • Pick Up Sticks
  • Jigsaw puzzles
  • Connect Four

A mind truly is a terrible thing to waste—so go on and schedule a play date for your brain today!

Lisa joined Ted & PK to share more about how playing games is good for your brain:

Lisa Morrone