As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind.

To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again.

To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives.

~ Henry David Thoreau

There is little doubt that aging gracefully affects our mental ability and agility. However, studies have shown that people who engaged in actively “exercising” their brain often do not suffer from the same mental decline. And exercising your brain is fun! Here’s how to keep your mind active and engaged:

1. Read

Reading actively engages many levels of your brain’s functions. You have to view the words, understand them and in many cases apply them to areas of existing knowledge or experience. You are also learning new things. You’re thinking on many different levels when you read.

To amplify the profound effects, try reading different things. Read the newspaper, fiction and non-fiction and read online information, too. This all combines to strengthen your mind.

2. Meditate

As more and more research is done on meditation, doctors and scientists are realizing the amazing power it has to strengthen the brain. It helps your brain relax and it teaches you how to focus. Try meditating for five to fifteen minutes each day.

3. Puzzles

Grab a word puzzle, like crossword. If you prefer math, get a Sudoko. You can also use brainteasers, jigsaw puzzles and other problem solving exercises. They all force the brain to think critically and to problem solve. They draw on past knowledge and ask you to not only locate that knowledge, but to actively use it and apply it in a different way than you are accustomed to.

4. Learn a new hobby

What have you always wanted to do? Now is the time to do it. Garden, dance, take pictures, write, learn to sew, rebuild an engine for an old car, go rock climbing or white water rafting. There really is no limit to the new things that you can do and try.

5. Exercise your body

Your brain benefits from physical exercise too. And it doesn’t have to be any thing crazy or outrageous. Start simply with a daily walking routine. Join a Yoga class or Zumba. Dance or play tennis. Find a physical activity that you enjoy and get your blood pumping.

6. Feed your brain.

Nutrients found in green tea and salmon can help strengthen your brain. Omega 3 fatty acids found in cold water fish are great for facilitating brain function and keeping your brain healthy. And the caffeine and antioxidants found in green tea are good for brain development and optimal health.

7. Listen to music.

Music engages your brain. Classical music in particular provides several brain health benefits. But Jazz and other forms of music are great, too. And if you really want to amplify the benefits of music, sing along, even if you can’t sing.

Conclusion:

There are many ways you can strengthen your brain. Have sex, laugh more, express gratitude, drink less and have more fun. A strong brain can last you decades and make your later years fulfilling and pleasurable.

Thoughts?

photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/evoo73/3222220257/sizes/z/in/photostream/

Read more: 5 Reasons Why Dancing is Great Exercise