While most commonly associated with exercising our muscles, the phrase “use it or lose it” also applies to our minds. If we don’t use our muscles regularly, they get stiff, flabby, and weak. The same goes for our brains. Research shows that brain-stimulating activities, like learning a new language or picking up knitting, can boost your cognitive health. 

Have you ever thought about what exactly “cognitive health” means? It’s your ability to think clearly, learn new information, and remember important details and memories. When your brain is cognitively healthy, it can perform all of these necessary processes. 

Like our physical bodies, our brains need to be stimulated and worked often. Research suggests that engaging your mind has serious brain-protecting benefits.

Here are a few activities that have been associated with improving cognition:

  • Learning a new skill like a language, playing an instrument, or painting

  • Reading books, magazines, and newspapers 

  • Playing games and doing crossword puzzles

  • Taking or teaching a class 

When you think about improving your cognitive health, know that you can care for your brain just by doing the things you’re interested in, and doing them often. It’s not all about brain puzzles and memory exercises (but feel free to throw these in if you’re up for it).