1. Change of routine When we change our daily routine, we stimulate our brain in new ways. According to neurobiologist Lawrence Katz, when we present the brain with non-routine activities that incorporate our physical senses, we promote the growth of new neural pathways and the creation of neurotrophins. Neurotrophins are brain nutrients that make neural cells stronger and more resistant to the effects of aging.
2. New Places If you are someone who likes to travel to new places during the holidays, you get to experience many brain benefits. If you use the low-tech method of navigation, a map, you are strengthening your visual spatial and visual memory skills. Foreign travel that involves learning and speaking a new language is a workout for the whole brain. And learning new information about the culture or history of a place can help to sharpen your memory.
3. Physical Activity. Exercise is great for the brain and many people are more physically active on vacation than they are normally. Even though the weather may not be ideal during the holidays, you can still find fun ways to be active. Some people have a tradition of playing football on Thanksgiving Day not just watching it. When it snows, there are fun winter sports that can be incorporated into your holiday travel like skiing, ice skating and sledding. Even playing in the snow can get your heart rate going. And if you prefer to stay indoors, shopping often requires a lot of walking.
4. Playing Games. Down-time and time spent getting to and from your destination is often filled with reading, doing puzzles or playing games with your family or travel companions. These are all great ways to strengthen your cognitive skills. We have lots of fun and challenging games that are great for travel, social gatherings and family get togethers.