Use it or lose it doesn't apply only to muscle fitness or sex. It also applies to the brain. While researchers at the University of Kansas have found that getting plenty of physical exercise may keep your brain fit too, there’s even better news. Advances in brain imaging and neuroscience have enabled scientists to learn more about the brain and how it works. The latest scientific research shows that your brain performs best when it has its own fitness program, fostering a whole new industry – neurobics, exercise for the brain.

Neurobics can take the form of mental exercises, brain teasers and puzzles. Studies show that by exercising your brain, you can actually create new neural pathways and reverse cognitive decline. This contradicts the old belief that our brain cells are just dying off as we age. The truth is we can stimulate growth in our brain cells at any age!

Every day I exercise my body and my brain, but that’s a big change. Before I began my “Growing Younger” program, every time I got the urge to exercise, I’d lie down until it went away. Now I exercise every day (almost every day) and it’s fun!

I had a special reason for beginning brain exercises and changing my negative mental chatter about aging: my mother died of Alzheimer’s. Mom spent over three years in a nursing home and every time I visited her, I absorbed those images of her wasting away. I’d read a lot about Alzheimer’s and that it’s hereditary, so I worried that I’d have the same kind of deterioration of mind and body as I aged.

It was after I had a “wake up” call that I realized how my thoughts and beliefs about aging were creating a life for me that I did not want. That’s when I began to consciously change my self-talk and exercise my brain.

It’s very easy to fall into habits of doing the same things and not trying anything new. Routine actions and thoughts become so automatic that most of our actions are governed by “muscle memory” and we do them largely unconsciously. To activate new brain circuits we need to stimulate our brain chemistry by doing something new, like eating with our non-dominant hand or closing our eyes during some routine action.

Sudoku is good for the brain and so are crossword puzzles, especially if you set a time limit for yourself and do them quickly. Want a new challenge? Try word games and puzzles at Another way to stimulate your brain is by learning how to do something completely new – to speak a foreign language, a new skill such as knitting or how to play an instrument -- perhaps the piano, banjo or guitar.

The best book I’ve found for increasing my brain power is Train Your Brain: 60 Days to a Better Brain by Ryuta Kawashima.

Allow yourself to become excited about trying new things and challenging yourself. The brain can be exercised and become more flexible just as our muscles can. So use it, don’t lose it, and you can forget about memory loss.

With my love and best wishes for a sharp memory and youthful brain!


Author's Bio: 

Ellen Wood, inspirational speaker and author of The Secret Method for Growing Younger is a living example of the effectiveness of the processes she teaches. Her website is

Since Ellen began using this consciousness-based approach in 2004, she has gained a clearer, sharper mind and stronger body, and has more vitality, stamina, flexibility, exuberance and energy than she had 30 years ago. Now, Ellen's passion, as both a writer and workshop leader, is pioneering a revolution in age-reversing consciousness.

Born in 1936, Ellen is an award-winning marketing and advertising executive who had given numerous talks throughout the country during the 1980’s and 1990’s and had authored or been featured in mor ethan 30 articles in national magazines and newspapers. Recently Ellen has enthralled many hundreds of people with her workshops on how to grow younger.

Her lifelong interest in metaphysics includes over 40 years of research exploring Eastern spirituality and Western psychology, attending seminars, workshops and retreats; and practicing techniques for balancing and joyfully integrating body, mind and spirit.

For decades Ellen applied the dynamics she learned to many aspects of her life. It was after her beloved mother wasted away with Alzheimer’s that she began to wake up to the fact that she could also change the process of aging by applyin gtechniques she had used in other areas of her life. Soon a whole program evolved along with a passion to share the information. The result is her first book, The Secret Method for Growing Younger.

In the Foreward to Ellen's book, Dr. Norm Shealy, bestselling author of over a dozen books, including Life Beyond 100, says, "Ellen Wood has integrated this century of positive thinking and its effect upon health to the next level - its power not only to retard aging but to reverse it!"

Her book is also endorsed by Barbara DeAngelis PhD, and world-renowned physicians, including Larry Dossey MD, David Simon MD and Richard Moss MD. Ellen has a regular column in The Taos News, Taos New Mexico.