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I’m all about brain health – and keeping our minds sharp as we age. And although doing puzzles, coloring, and playing an instrument are proven ways to keep neural connections firing, there are other things we can do in our daily lives that help.

Like, learning the words to your new favorite song. That exercises the parts of the brain responsible for focus and memory. Plus, the concentration required to pick out the lyrics releases brain chemicals that stimulate neuro-plasticity, which is the brain’s ability to form new neural connections throughout life.

Another way to improve brain health: Play catch. A study in the journal Nature Neuroscience found that catching and throwing require us to coordinate physical things like vision, balance, and timing, along with more abstract concepts, like spatial relations and anticipating future movements. And that means, practicing hand-eye coordination helps our body beef up the mental circuits that transmit data from one place to another.

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