#BlogElul 14: Learn

Do you like to learn? If not, what do you think the consequences of that might be?

The brain, while technically not a muscle, is similar to our muscles in many ways – in particular, it’s got this “use it or lose it” aspect to it, that becomes increasingly important as we age.

If we don’t use our muscles, they atrophy.

If we don’t use our brain, it atrophies.

Neither of those is a good thing, but muscles are easier to replace than brain tissue. Nobody wants to use a walker or a wheelchair, but losing the ability to think is a much more terrifying prospect than anything involving the muscles (except maybe breathing). To quote Woody Allen, “Don’t touch my brain, it’s my second favourite organ!”

So how do we keep our brain fresh and active? Just like our muscles, by using it. Learning new things, making new connections, growing our mental horizons. Learning a new skill or travelling to a new place is the most fun, but even just doing a crossword puzzle or playing a strategy game can help keep that grey matter healthy.

Physical activity, good nutrition and adequate sleep are also important parts of healthy aging – but there’s no question that we want to keep our brains functional for as long as we possibly can.

Keep learning!

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