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Published on: December 20, 2012
by Huffington Post:
There are many great gifts you could get a loved one: a big-screen TV, a trip abroad, a new car… but why settle for a “great” gift when you could buy someone something perhaps even more valuable?
…The gift of a healthy brain.
It is important that we do what we can to prevent dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Fortunately, Dr. Cynthia R. Green, founder and president of Memory Arts, LLC, has developed a list of gifts we can give others (or ourselves!) to keep our brains healthy.
“I’m often asked by folks … what are the ways they can get more brain healthy, so this year we decided to do a list of ideas of different kinds of gifts that would make a brain health difference,” Green said. “People are very interested in brain health … and there’s many different things we can do to improve our everyday memory and long-term brain health.”
You don’t have to give someone a bag of spinach to get them a brain healthy gift. In fact, many of these gifts may already be on your loved one’s wish list. From a juggling set, to various brain games, check out the list of 10 healthy brain gifts.
1. A Juggling Set
As it turns out, juggling isn’t just for clowns. In fact, it is actually quite good for your brain. “Juggling has been associated with increased brain volume and improved intellectual skills, as it is a great workout for your focus, coordination and speed,” according to Cynthia R. Green. Get someone a someone a juggling set and increase their brain health, while also giving them a cool new party trick.
2. DDR, Nintendo Wii
Dancing is not only good for your heart health, but it is also good for your brain health. However, if you’re like us, you avoid dancing in public at all costs. Fortunately, you can dance in the comfort of your own home with the Dance Dance Revolution DVD and games on the Nintendo Wii. “Studies have shown that dancing can improve memory and everyday performance, in addition to reducing dementia risk over the long-term,” according to Cynthia R. Green.
3. Brain Healthy Cookbooks
There are lot of great cookbooks that recommend brain healthy recipes. We love “The Alzheimer’s Prevention Cookbook,” by Dr. Marwan Sabbagh, which came out earlier this year.
4. A Mind Sharpening Activity
The best way to keep your brain healthy is to keep it active. Get your loved one a gift certificate for an activity that will sharpen their mind. Dr. Cynthia R. Green recommends music lessons or an activity in MAKE magazine.
5. A Brain Game
Games like Simon help improve your memory, while the brain fitness software, Luminosity, gives your brain a full workout. According to Dr. Cynthia R. Green, these types of games “that we play against the clock are a proven way to maintain the intellectual skills that can change with age.” However, they are also the types of games we are least likely to play as we age.
6. A Gift Certificate To A Brain Healthy Store
Some people just don’t love a gift unless they pick it out themselves. To ensure that your loved ones are picking out brain healthy gifts, get them a gift certificate for a store full of brain healthy games and toys.
Brain Teasers from Mensa and big jigsaw puzzles for the whole family are a great way to get our minds working, according to Dr. Cynthia R. Green.
8. The Gift Of Relaxation
No one wants to be stressed and “studies have suggested that the physiological aspects of stress may be harmful to our cognitive functioning, and could even have long term consequences to brain health.” Help your loved ones relax with a gift certificate to a spa, a massage, or a relaxation CD.
Dr. Cynthia R. Green describes yoga as “the ultimate brain workout, as it provides opportunity for exercising the body, mind and soul.” Sign your loved one up for a yoga class, get them a yoga mat, or buy them the Yoga Deck.
10. Time With Friends
It might sound silly, but sometimes a good gift is simply your company. According to Dr. Cynthia R. Green, “Studies have show that socializing helps us stay sharp and may lower our risk for memory loss.” Take your loved one out to dinner, to a movie, to a sports game, or generally just give them an opportunity to be social.
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