Performing regular and targeted brain exercises, such as brain teasers, help increase the brain's ability to resist neurological damage from aging that leads to conditions such as dementia and Alzheimer's disease, according to Everyday Health. Other behavioral adjustments such as increasing physical activity and getting proper nutrition are also helpful.
Even simple brain teasers, including those that involve solving math problems mentally such as Sudoku, and figuring out the differences between two similar comic strips help increase the brain's cognitive reserve and its ability to ward off the effects of aging, says Everyday Health. Other brain activities that force the brain out of its habitual thinking patterns, such as brushing teeth with the opposite hand, learning a new language or completing a jigsaw puzzle, have been shown to slow or prevent the onset of dementia and other age-related brain diseases
In an ongoing, ground-breaking study of 676 nuns that began in 1986, researchers found that the development and pursuit of linguistic complexity indicated these nuns would be less likely to suffer from dementia and other cognitive conditions later in life, reports the New York Times. Researchers suggested that this brain reserve of superior language ability, what one researcher called idea density, is helpful in preventing brain degeneration.