Brain Challenge

It's always a good time to learn something new!

When in comes to brain health, keeping our minds active is a really great idea.  The brain is "plastic" and can continue to grow, develop, and make connections from before we are born until well into old age.  When you challenge your brain with new and effortful activity, you help to build your "cognitive reserve".  Invest in your brain by keeping physically active!

  • Challenging your brain with regular mental exercise is just as important as physical activity!
  • Like your muscles, your brain improves with use. Did you know education and lifelong learning actually improves brain function over time and lowers your risk of developing memory problems and even dementia when you are older?
  • Exercising your brain increases “cognitive reserve”, which is your brain’s resilience or ability to cope with stress and challenges.

IDEAS TO GET STARTED!

  • Challenge your brain to learn something new: Formal learning like taking a course online, a program of study at university or a community class is great for brain health even if it feels like a lot to learn!  But it's also great to keep the goals small: even reading a newspaper or a magazine article or listening to a podcast are helpful for brain health over time.
  • Take out a free membership at your local public library: Reading is great for your mind in so many ways! Many libraries also have book and movie clubs, university lectures, a variety of workshops and home book delivery services. Audiobooks and films are also great ways to activiate your brain.
  • Discover what a computer can do: Using a computer, tablet or smart phone to access the internet is an excellent way to find interesting information and connect with others.  Don't let age or lack of experience be a barrier!  Did you know that the average age of Facebook users in Nova Scotia is 55?  If you are new to computers, there are many user-friendly resources and technologies.  Check with your local library for more computer resources.
  • Make the most of your hobbies and interests: Consider new opportunities to do the things you already enjoy doing, and take it to a new level!  Joining a cooking or photography group will help you learn new techniques and met new people with common interests.  More complex activities like learning a new language or how to play an instrument benefit your brain the most, but all activity counts, and if it is fun, so much the better!
  • Change your routine: Are you a creature of habit? Take a different route home, shop at a different store, or meet up with a friend you have not seen for a while. By simply changing your routine or introducing new experiences, you activate new brain pathways and add mental exercise to your day.
  • Register for a course: Formal learning activities are beneficial for brain health. Nova Scotia has a great number of adult education opportunities. Some universities have Continuing Education Departments that offer non credit courses, seminars or lectures. The Seniors College of Nova Scotia is a not-for-profit organization that offers a wide range of academic courses for seniors in several communities throughout Nova Scotia. Libraries also offer lecture series.
  • Challenge your mind: in terms of brain health, the more challenge the better. More complex activities like learning a new language or how to play an instrument benefit your brain the most, but all activity counts!.

Set a goal!

Set a SMART brain challenge goal from the Ideas to get Started list, or choose one of your own.

Remember the more specific, measurable and realistic your goal, the more likely you are to succeed!

Invitation: We invite you to try out the Wellness App to track your goal over the next 4 weeks.  No goal is too small and the Wellness App will encourage you along the way!

Share your goal:

Explore Further!

Still not sure what to do?
Learn more about the science behind brain challenge in our Evidence section OR explore these links:

Yoga with Adriene
Canada's Food Guides and Healthy Eating
Improve Your Eating Habits