We know as our bodies age so too will our brains. Just as it is important to keep our bodies in good physical condition we also need to keep our minds active and our brains learning throughout life.
We mostly associate the loss of memory and decreased brain function with age. But research has shown the process of our brains aging can begin decades earlier than we may realize. By our 60s our brains are actually beginning to shrink in size. Every year more than 3 million new cases of Alzheimer’s is diagnosed in the U.S. alone and aging is the #1 risk factor. Yes the majority of these cases are people over the age of 60 years old but research is showing we need to be thinking about our brain health much earlier in life where changes in life style can have a significant impact on slowing this disease or other forms of dementia.
The Alzheimer’s Association has several simple suggestions for maintaining a healthy brain and reducing the effects of aging on the brain. Lifestyle habits like regular physical exercise to keep your heart healthy and blood flowing to your brain are important throughout our life to combat the affects of aging on the brain. Eating healthy foods, maintaining regular sleep, and staying socially active are also lifestyle habits that will slow the progression of Alzheimer’s and other dementia. The Alzheimer’s Association also recommends challenging your mind to learn something new. Research supports that continuing to learn new skills will help maintain healthy brain function.
Learning mathematics using the abacus is a skill most people do not have. So learning the abacus will challenge and stimulate your brain in areas that may be under developed or under utilized. Stimulating your brain in new ways will form new connections and help maintain a highly functioning brain.
As more people discover the abacus and it’s many cognitive benefits, we are seeing the interest in learning abacus grow not only with young students learning math for the first time but with adults and seniors seeking to learn a new, fun way to challenge their brains. The secret to aging well is keeping our minds active and constantly learning new skills. Learning arithmetic and mental math using the abacus is a great start.