Lifestyle

Engage in game playing to effectively train your brain

Louie Radovanovic engages in that old game of brain exercise, chess.
Louie Radovanovic engages in that old game of brain exercise, chess. Christopher Chan

WHETHER it's the Melbourne Cup, the US Presidential election or the cake-icing competition at the Woop Woop East Show: what seemed at the time like a big deal soon becomes background noise.

People usually remember the winner, maybe the runner-up, and only others that are different in some ways.

Followers of horse-racing, for example, will probably be able to tell you the name of the horse that won the cup, maybe the second-placed runner, and another one that was different in some way - perhaps the one they backed.

US thinker and author Seth Godin refers to this differentiation, or standing-out from the crowd, as the Purple Cow (brown, white, black and brown cows don't rate a second-look, but a purple one would be a guaranteed attention-getter).

Give this memory-jogging tip a try. Select an event. Who was the winner? Can you recall the runner-up? Can you recall any other competitor? Why? How come?

So what's this got to do with ageing and living a longer, better life, you may ask? For most people, so-called memory loss has zip to do with ageing.

Golden oldies such as: "A diplomat is a man who always remembers his wife's birthday, but never remembers her age" (Robert Frost) and "I'm growing old by myself. My wife hasn't had a birthday in years" (Milton Berle) are smile-generators - that's all.

While ageing is often blamed for failure to remember certain events, that cause of blame is difficult to substantiate. For the 85% of us who are mentally sound, research continues to show that not one IQ point is lost to ageing.

An energetic mind needn't be held back by the body's shortcomings.

This, however, does not mean doing nothing. All living things demand regular and constant attention of some kind.

More than 2000 years ago, Cicero recommended a lifestyle involving sound nutrition, exercise, sensual moderation, an active mental life and reflection.

A study by US writer and researcher Richard Leviton, involving 1300 men and women in their mid-70s, gave a clear idea of what it takes to maintain brain power as we age.

The three standouts were:

  • Stay in good physical health. Our brains need all the oxygen and nutrients our circulatory systems can send them.
  • Keep intellectual interests and activities alive. There's no such thing as retirement for the brain cells that control our intelligence.
  • Train the brain. Targeted training, such as playing chess, bridge or reading upside down a selected chunk from the paper are some examples.

I'm not suggesting that brain power and memory loss are the same things. Sustained mental fitness, however, requires rejuvenation.

And this can occur any time. There isn't a time when the brain is not working for us.

Even when we're engaged in some seemingly mindless activity, a solution to a vexing problem can present itself.

"Sleep on it" can be pretty good problem-solving advice.

A good starting point could be meditation. Not only will this rejuvenate brain cells but also help to retard the ageing process.

Find out more about how to add years to your life and life to your years with Dr Flanagan's bestseller BLINK! The Speed of Life at neil.com.au.

 

>> To read more lifestyle stories

Topics:  brain chess education games lifestyle mental health



Young father breaches child porn court orders

Generic Rockhampton Court.   Photo: Chris Ison / The Morning Bulletin

Drugs and failure to report lands man in jail

Mobile tower rage: ‘We pay the price’

CONCERNED: Deebing Heights residents Darryl Beyer and Jenny Harrison look over the approved Optus mobile phone tower site.

'I'd never forgive myself if anything ever happened to the children'

Ipswich's own foodie heaven in town this weekend

Jocelyn Balbarais of Goodna with Samantha, 12, Elijah, 18 months, and Monica, 9, enjoying the Ipswich CBD Food Fair in the Square.

It is the perfect night out for everyone

Local Partners

Furious Price wants to quit I'm a Celeb after clash with Keira

AN IRATE Steve Price has threatened to quit I'm A Celebrity after a series of drama-filled clashes with Keira Maguire.

Novel with lots of heart

The romance in A Quiet Kind of Thunder was only one of the joys of the book.

Book proves to be a gem with layers

Bliss N Eso announce tribute show for stuntman

Bliss N Eso will play a tribute show at Coolangatta in honour of Johann Ofner. The stuntman died during the filming of the group's Friend Like You film clip earlier this year.

BLISS N Eso to play tribute show to raise funds for killed stuntman

MOVIE REVIEW: Trainspotting sequel as good as original

Ewen Bremner in a scene from the movie T2: Trainspotting.

Director Danny Boyle proves sequels can be done well.

How Karl Stefanovic's wife, kids found out about girlfriend

Karl Stefanovic and Jasmine Yarbrough after their day on Sydney Harbour. Picture: Jonathan Ng

Pictures splashed across tabloid were shock to family

WATCH: Toowoomba opera hopeful's incredible voice

Kaitlyn Orange attends Opera Queensland auditions at Empire Theatres for Opera at Jimbour, Saturday, February 18, 2017.

Opera hopefuls vie for parts in performance at Jimbour House

MKR turns spiteful in suddendeath elimination

Alyse and Matt battled Josh and Amy in a spiteful elimination cook-off.

Bottom of the ladder faces off in spiteful sudden-death cook-off.

$1b Springfield development deadline brought forward

Aveo's Springfield development is running ahead of schedule.

The majority of interest has come from local buyers

Submarine, buses and 3000 tyres removed in $100K clean up

The list of things removed from this property is beyond astonishing

Popular island resort sells to loaded international investor

OUR PICK: Chris Foey's colourful shot of one of Gladstone's great tourism hot spots, Heron Island.

International investor snaps up piece of Gladstone paradise.

Expert: Why renters, home buyers may struggle

Matusik Property Insights director Michael Matusik.

What's next for the city's housing market

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!