The old adage “Use it or lose it” applies not only to our physical health but also to our cognitive health. We know that regular physical exercise is important, especially as we get older and want to reduce our risk of developing diseases and other health issues associated with aging. For instance, strength exercises can help build muscle and reduce the risk of osteoporosis; balance exercises can help prevent falls; and flexibility and stretching exercises can help maintain range of motion to stay limber, according to the National Institute on Aging.
Similarly, your brain's cognitive reserve — its ability to withstand neurological damage due to aging and other factors without showing signs of slowing or memory loss — can also benefit from exercise, both physical and cognitive. Just as weight workouts add lean muscle to your body and help you retain more muscle in your later years, researchers now believe that following a brain-healthy lifestyle and performing regular, targeted brain exercises can increase your brain’s cognitive reserve.
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