We exercise everything else, so why not our brains, folks? Everyone looks at becoming more forgetful as a typical part of getting older, but in reality, you can keep yourself sharp at any age!

More people in the US actually fear losing their mental capacity than their physical abilities. Around 60 percent of adults in a CDC survey said they were somewhat or very worried about losing their ability to remember things (www.cdc.gov/aging/pdf/cognitive_impairment/cogimp_poilicy_final.pdf).

One thing to keep in mind here is that your brain will start to deteriorate if you don’t continually challenge it with new and surprising information. Just like a lack of physical activity will lead your muscles to atrophy, a lack of cognitive activity will do the same thing to your brain. If you’re experiencing some brain drain already or are just worried you someday will, try the easy tricks below.

Get yourself engaged

A study published in the Journal of Neurology found that people aged 85 and up had a lower risk of mild cognitive impairment when they took part in craft, social and artistic activities from mid-life forward (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25854867/). This also applied to those who learned how to use a computer later in life.

Another study, in the Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21677242/), found that doing craft activities such as quilting and knitting reduced a person’s chances of developing mild cognitive impairment.

Try some new games

There are plenty of “brain training” games available for your PC and on mobile devices. Look for games that touch on a wide variety of areas, including focus and memory. Try to play for at least 20 minutes each day for optimal results, but don’t spend more than seven minutes on any one specific task.

Puzzle books designed to stimulate your mind work, too, if you’re not a fan of mobile or desktop games or prefer pencil and paper. Look for a book that is a mix of challenges, including trivia, mazes, word games, puzzles and math games.

Do some news quizzes

After you read the news, do a news quiz to see how well you remembered what you learned. This will help you remember new information and keep you informed while also challenging you to pay better attention to what you read.

There are many ways to help stimulate your brain and keep it nimble. Try new things to get your brain in shape and discover what works the best for you.