But, you can strengthen your brainbasiclassic/Shutterstock
Although brain games may not supercharge your thinking cap, you can train your brain by focusing on broader, more dynamic skills. “The best news is that we can do things to counter age-related brain decline and strengthen our ‘smartness’ into late life– especially when it comes to innovative problem solving and deeper level thinking,” Dr. Chapman says. “Reasoning and innovative thinking contribute to the intellectual capacity needed to respond effectively to our constantly changing real-life demands.” For example, learning a new language, a musical instrument, or other new hobbies have been shown to increase brain function. Here are 15 more brain-boosting activities with science on their side.
Social interaction is good for the brainJacob Lund/Shutterstock
If you want to remain sharp as you get older, it’s not just about gaining knowledge but about social stimulation too. “Research suggests that meaningful social activities actually maintains or increases brain function,” says Anthony Cirillo, FACHE, ABC, president of the healthcare consulting firm The Aging Experience. “The memory center in the brains of seniors maintained their size and, in men, grew modestly after two years in a program that engaged them in meaningful and social activities.” So volunteering, visiting with friends and family, and staying active in social groups can actually help your brain as you age. Check out these other 15 things brain doctors do to prevent Alzheimer’s.
Classical music doesn’t make babies smarterAfrica Studio/Shutterstock
Forget the Baby Einstein DVDs. Although actually learning an instrument has been shown to benefit children’s brains, the “Mozart effect“—the idea that playing classical music while your newborn sleeps will boost his IQ—has not. “The idea was that if babies listen to music composed by Mozart, they would have a brain boost, so plenty of products quickly became available to offer such experiences for parents to give their children a mental edge from the start,” Dr. Chapman says. “Nonetheless, listening to Mozart will not do your babies, children, or you any harm and may build a lifelong appreciation for music—other music will achieve that as well.” These are the other incredible ways classical music makes you healthier.