I want to be in good physical condition. When I was young, I wanted to look good or perform well in a favorite sport. Today my desire to stay in shape is more about remaining mentally alert.
Are you concerned your memory is not what it used to be? Read. Do you want to calm your nerves? Read. You’re inundated with advice to keep your body moving, to bend and stretch and push and pull—to use it or lose it. Did you know your brain needs a sort of bending and stretching and pushing and pulling, too? Think of reading as a physical workout for the brain. For those of you who love reading, be encouraged. Your book is a treadmill for your brain. Prefer hiking? Each time you turn a new page imagine the progress you’ve made on your mental trek.
According to the National Institutes of Health research shows that reading energizes the network of circuits and signals in the brain. Grow your reading ability and those networks strengthen and mature all sorts of brain functions. Reading conditions you to concentrate, anticipate, and imagine. It builds your vocabulary muscles and improves your cognitive skills.
Read to nurture your mind. Where television and videos tend to lull you into a stupor, reading does the opposite. The next time you feel guilty curling up with a good book, remember the healthy exercise your brain in getting. Keep up the good work with physical movement but don’t forget to include your mind when planning your exercise regimen.