September 24, 2022

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For Dr. Calvin Hirsch, a geriatrics specialist, aging brought an opportunity to test his own...

For Dr. Calvin Hirsch, a geriatrics specialist, aging brought an opportunity to test his own research and that of his colleagues. The doctor recently retired from his daily practice, transitioning to a research position as an emeritus professor of medicine.

To keep his mind sharp, in addition to research, he forged not one but two creative outlets for himself – writing poetry and nature photography. While he’s co-edited two books on geriatric psychiatry, Hirsch’s new goal moves him from editor to author. He’s authored many research papers, but his book’s premise challenges his mind to work in a new way. He’s authoring a humor book that discusses geriatrics in limerick poetry.

For example:

  • His face was plethoric and pained,
  • His heart was enlarged and quite strained.
  • He was seeing bright stars
  • Till Isoptin-SRs
  • Control of his pressure regained.

The act of writing poetry forces Dr. Calvin Hirsch to use his brain in a new way. Learning something new, like poetry writing or a new language, and challenging your brain with new skills or puzzles, such as Sudoku, crypto-quips, or crossword puzzles, offer two of the keys to keeping your brain young as you age.

Turning to nature photography to develop a visual art skill does the same thing – it enhances the neuroplasticity of your brain. Even in patients who showed a decline in skill in one area, the beauty of human brains shines through because individuals can learn new information or re-learn old information using a different part of their brain.

You don’t need to purchase a game that claims it’s designed specifically for developing neuroplasticity. None of them have been scientifically proven yet. Learning new information through reading or working logic puzzles or word searches can help you keep your brain younger.

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Amusingly, research shows that moms everywhere knew things before researchers confirmed them. Other items that will keep your brain young and healthy include eating a healthy diet and exercising. Getting a good night’s sleep every night also contributes to brain health.

Meeting new people and remaining socially active can also help you develop the natural neuroplasticity of your brain. Another way to jumpstart your brain’s learning capabilities is to do one thing differently on some days. You might make a different breakfast, drive or bike to work using a new route, or take a class in nature photography or poetry writing.

You don’t have to author a book of limericks like Dr. Calvin Hirsch, and you might only share your creations with your child or grandchild. Your creative activity helps your brain stay young, though, so get to it. Whatever activity you choose, do it every day, but don’t choose to watch TV. That passive activity does nothing to engage your brain. Read a book instead.