August 2019 – Cognitive Health Update

Each month I provide an update on my progress to bettering cognitive health. This includes challenging my brain in scored games, expanding my knowledge through books, reviewing the latest research articles and watching creative, idea-worthy talks.

Brain Games

Despite a long vacation, my busiest time of year for work, and summer winding down, I was still able to complete my cognitive workouts two-thirds of the time. In my head, I’d set goals to exceed the 1800 mark for Lumosity LPI, achieve all Elite levels for Elevate, and surpass 800 for my Peak Brain Score. This past month I completed that first goal and have come pretty close to meeting the next two. Hopefully, I can meet those goals in September. I also read an interesting study (detailed below) that was able to show how Lumosity is able to increase one’s cognitive health through brain exercises. Just one more article that proves why we should all be working our brains just like we workout or bodies.

Brain Workouts: 20 out of 30 days
Lumosity LPI: 1801 (+3 since July)
Elevate Average: 4411 (+22 since July)
Peak Brain Score: 791 (+14 since June)

Online Brain-Training Games Can Be Cognitive Fountains Of Youth For Seniors

As medicine, health education and healthy habits advance, we’re living much longer than we use to. But, we haven’t taken as good of care with our brain as we have with our body. This is causing a decrease in cognitive function and increase in mental illness as we age. Because of this, more research is being performed on how to correct some of these arising issues.

Recently, research findings were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The research was done with participants between the age of 21 and 80 using the online brain-training app Lumosity. The recent research finding’s lead author Mark Steyvers concluded that, “people in the upper age ranges who completed specific training tasks were able to beef up their brain’s ability to switch between tasks in the game at a level similar to untrained 20- and 30-year-olds.” This means that even though most people’s multitasking ability diminishes as they get older, it’s possible to prevent this with brain training games. This is why, no matter your age, I recommend you download one of the brain training apps I use above (Lumosity, Elevate and/or Peak) and complete your brain training workouts daily. It’s a simple and quick way to improve your cognitive function and prevent aging.

Source: https://www.studyfinds.org/online-brain-training-game-turn-back-clock-on-cognition-for-seniors/

Book of the Month

During my August vacation, I was able to finish my monthly read of The Algebra of Happiness: Notes on the Pursuit of Success, Love, and Meaning. In the early stages of the book, through the introduction which was about 33 pages, I was super excited about this book. I thought it could be my favorite of the year. It had a lot of great principles which I’ve always agreed with.

  • Nothing Is Ever As Bad or As Good As It Seems. Manage your emotions.
  • Sweat More Than You Watch People Sweat. Consume less and produce more.
  • Drink Less. Alcohol consumption is the number one predictor of unhappiness.
  • Happiness = Family. Family is the number one predictor of happiness.

But, as the book went on, my love for it faded. It became less based off of studies and scientific evidence, and more based off of opinions and the author’s personal experiences. He does mention early on that the book isn’t meant to be scientific, and that a lot of it is based on opinion, but I preferred the book in it’s earlier stages with supporting research. Despite my fading love, I finished the book and am happy I read it. Overall, I learned a lot and it reinforced many of my beliefs. It’s a quick read at less than 250 sparse pages and has a lot of valuable lessons. I recommend you pick up this book and give it a read (link here). Let me know your opinion on it in the comments below!

How Weight Training Changes the Brain

Most people don’t think of weight training as a way to increase brain health. But, like many physical activities, weight training lowers the amount of inflammation in the brain and increases brain plasticity. This means that the brain can create new neural connections quicker and easier. The latest study, linked below, shows how mice with mental impairments are able to fix those impairments through weight training. It’s pretty cool to see how a physical activity like weight training not only helps you maintain a healthy brain, but enables your brain to fix and heal impairments as well. I’m actually starting a new Beach Body weight training program this month and am excited to know it’ll help with my cognitive health too. If you don’t already, I recommend incorporating weight training into your healthy habits.

Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/24/well/move/how-weight-training-changes-the-brain.html

Final Thoughts

Another month of rising brain scores, interesting reading, and cognitive health studies.

With cognitive health growing in popularity and concern, it’s important to stay current with the latest research. It’s important to constantly challenge our brain in new ways. And, it’s important to push ourselves to keep learning and growing.

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Disclosure: I frequently review or recommend products and services that I own and use. If you buy these products or services using the links on this site, I receive a small referral commission. This doesn’t impact my review or recommendation.

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