Encouraging laughter and learning through socialising, trying something new and being physically and mentally active, are all key to better brain health. We can be doing things to improve our brain health at any age.
Modern workplaces have begun to recognise the importance of play in productivity. Many major companies have introduced play spaces within offices, offer yoga and cooking classes, or give employees time to interact away from their regular routines.
That might seem counterintuitive at first glance, but research shows that keeping ourselves physically and mentally stimulated is good for overall health and wellbeing, and the flow-on effect is better productivity — both personally and professionally.
And while a regular book club, tennis team or pilates class is brilliant for your brain and body, trying new and novel activities requires mental effort and brain stimulation.
Why not be brave and try activities you may never have contemplated? Be willing to be a beginner again. Salsa dancing lessons, committing to learning a new word each day, and mastering a new recipe are all fun, interactive ideas that might be simple to implement.
And if you can include family and friends in the mix, even better! Regularly interacting with others is an added bonus for stimulation.
So while you might not think intuitively that spending time with a friend is exercising your brain, consider the complexities of social encounters — particularly good ones. In any single interaction, you are listening, digesting, considering, sharing, reflecting and responding.*
*Based on The Brain Health Book: Using the Power of Neuroscience to Improve Your Life, John Rudolph)