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People are living longer due to better nutrition and medical advances. But longer lives don't necessarily mean healthier lives, as per a recent study found. People are leading longer lives but they are spending more of that time with illness, especially Alzheimer's disease or AD.

Everyone knows the benefits of exercise and being fit. But our brain works just like a muscle and if not used it deteriorates fairly fast. This is especially important for older retired adults who aren’t faced with the everyday intellectual challenges presented by work anymore. Along with aerobic exercise, engaging your brain in complex ways is absolutely necessary to keep your mind sharp in the 60s, 70s and beyond.

As we get older, it’s very easy to fall into habits of doing the same things and not trying anything new. Routine actions and thoughts become so automatic that most of our actions are governed by ‘muscle memory’ and we go on ‘auto pilot’ (doing things unconsciously).

To activate new brain circuits we need to stimulate our brain chemistry by doing something new, visiting new places, eating new food, trying new wines, meeting new people, getting involved in charity work like teaching.

Playing chess, solving the Rubik’s cube, doing Sudoku and crossword puzzles are all very good brain exercises especially if you set a time limit for yourself and do them quickly.

Another way to stimulate your brain is by learning how to do something completely new – learn a foreign language, a new skill such as cooking, watercolor painting, or even playing video games and beat your grandchildren!

Allow yourself to become excited about trying new things and challenging yourself. The brain can be exercised and become more flexible just as our muscles can. Stay sharp. There is so much to live for.                                                                  

Best of health,

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