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Jim Muth's
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Exercise Your Brain
Staying fit is a great goal that will help you lead a longer, healthier life, but if your brain can’t keep up, then what’s the point? The brain is a muscle too and it follows the same “use it or lose it” policy as your other muscles. So how can you keep your brain fit? Brain exercise is the answer.

Two of the most important factors in keeping your brain healthy are traditional exercise and nutrition. Keep your body healthy and your brain will follow suit. But after that, there are other ways to exercise your mind.

You’ve probably heard people describe one of their older relatives like this: “My Uncle Larry is sharp as a tack; he does the New York Times crossword puzzle every day.” Well, Uncle Larry has the right idea but his execution is a little off. The best way to stimulate your brain is to break free of everyday activities and challenge yourself in new and unexpected ways. By doing the crosswords daily, he has created a familiar routine that becomes less challenging every day. Uncle Larry, it’s time to add Word Searches and Sudoku for some variety.

Activities to exercise your mind:
* If you’re right handed, try brushing your teeth with your left hand
* Try accomplishing something with your eyes closed, such as putting the key in your front door or walking to your fridge
* Try a different route on your daily commute
* Reconstruct your day by writing down what you did. For example, if you take a trip to the zoo, when you get home try to write down all the animals that you saw in the order that you saw them.

Your mother may have told you that playing too many video games will turn your brain to mush, but she was wrong. The Nintendo DS Lite has a few games that are designed to exercise your brain and they are quite good. They’re varied enough to avoid becoming routine and continue to challenge even after repeated playing. But the best part is that they’re fun to spend some time with.

I recently played my cousin’s copy of Big Brain Academy on her Nintendo DS. The game consists of a bunch of fun puzzles that you try to finish in a set amount of time. Just as you get the hang of the puzzle, it’s over and there’s a new one to try. When I finished, the game informed me that my score was that of a hair stylist.

If you're trying to fight off the effects of old age, exercising your body is great, but don't forget to exercise your mind.