Breaking the Brain Age Myth

Your brain is the single most powerful machine in the universe, multifaceted and hugely complex. When a published study claimed that a certain therapy can reduce brain age by 10 years, it received a furor of angry retorts from experts. Their main contention is that brain age cannot be determined by a singular criterion and that there is not just one brain age.

True enough, the controversial experiment improved only the subjects’ auditory cognitive skills, leaving the gamut of the other cognitive aspects behind. This illustrates that brain fitness is still largely improved by a range of brain training exercises, not a single process.

The real deal about brain age

The human brain is capable of a lot of things because it is wired for different functions and skills. Just to name a few, some roles associated with the brain are perception, memory, and language. In theory, while you can improve on all these factors and revitalize your overall brain age by a certain number of years, experts maintain that it is highly unlikely.

There is one aspect of the study that is true: that the human brain is highly elastic and resilient, and physical aging does not necessarily imply brain aging. In other words, it is highly possible for a 60-year-old to have the brain of a 50-year-old in most respects. However, rejuvenating your brain age does not hinge on just one activity. It involves an entire lifestyle. Physical well-being and mental exercise, among other things, allow your brain to stay at par with your body when it comes to your biological clock.

Reducing brain age the right way

The method espoused by the contentious study is an intense auditory processing training system to reduce brain age. This showed significant improvements in the subjects’ auditory skills, but how about the other ones? There are certain activities that can enhance certain specific brain functions and effectively reduce your brain age by improving your brain fitness in general.

Experts maintain that the conventional means still work best—physical exercise, a healthy diet, stress management, and brain exercise. While a lot has been said about the importance of the first three, brain exercise is relatively ignored as mere adjunct to physical well-being and not a separate component.

Lifelong brain stimulation through constant exercise usually does the trick. A study revealed that people who tried to live an active mental lifestyle after their 60s by playing chess, card games, or crossword puzzles reduce the risk of acquiring dementia by some 60%. Even frequency becomes a factor. Answering crossword puzzles once a week versus doing it 4 times a week represents a significant difference. In fact, more than 10% per day of doing crossword. This does not mean that you have to start when you’re 61. Studies have revealed that an active mental routine early in life significantly helps.

In the end, a simple act of answering crossword puzzles every day can keep your mind constantly at work. A scientific, rigorous, and long-term brain fitness program, more than anything, can improve your so-called brain age. This need not be huge or expensive. Mind games and brain teasers sometimes spell all the difference between Alzheimer’s and enjoying your grandkids’ stories when you’re 70.