The brain does not go on vacation: sports, travel and logic games are the best allies of an active mind, but be careful with alcohol and high-calorie foods

Summer holidays are the perfect time for many Italians to relax and enjoy dolce far niente, to relieve the fatigue that has accumulated during the year and recharge the batteries before returning to the office. It’s often a mistake to send your brain on vacation as well, neglecting the importance of keeping your mind active in the summer to get back into routine even more wisely.

As such, MioDottore – the leading online medical booking platform and part of the Unicorn Docplanner – engaged one of its experts, Dr. Luca Cuffaro, a neurologist, to study the problem and illustrate what to do and what to avoid train your brain, even under an umbrella.

Moving, reading and traveling: Train your mind in summer to start over in September

The brain, like the body, can become weak if it is not stimulated. On the contrary, the more it is stimulated, the more the higher the cognitive functions will be rich and developed. This is because a person naturally tends to be lazy when taking advantage of energy savings, but at the same time the brain is a plastic organ that reacts to external stimuli. To avoid going back to the mind-off routine and to prevent cognitive decline in old age, the neurologist MioDottore lists 5 key activities that train the mind even under an umbrella, important for all family members.

  1. To do sports: Exercise is a protective factor for intellectual function, especially if you are doing aerobic exercise. From a neurological point of view, sport promotes the release and balance of specific neurotransmitters capable of improving mood and reducing depression, and promotes greater responsiveness and increased energy.
  2. Light: a holiday suitcase should never be complete without novels, textbooks, trade magazines or newspapers. Reading in any form improves concentration, broadens the knowledge base and stimulates imagination and creativity. In addition, reading generates an increase in cerebral blood flow to areas corresponding to executive cognitive functions, which allow you to plan, organize and manage time and activities, solve problems and set priorities.
  3. Solving logical games: brain teasers and brain teasers are able to simultaneously stimulate various cognitive functions such as attention, concentration, visual-spatial abilities and whole memory. They are therefore an excellent exercise that allows you to maintain a good mental condition, and also comfortable to carry in a beach or mountain bag.
  4. Fun with kids: interaction with others stimulates the mind and pushes to change views, but it is the confrontation with little ones that triggers unusual motor and mental tasks compared to everyday life. When an adult interacts with a child, he sharpens his mind so that the game is fun and never monotonous, while maintaining control of the surrounding situation.
  5. Journey: Whatever your destination, travel is good for your brain. Visiting unfamiliar places, communing with various customs and habits, listening to foreign languages ​​and tasting various dishes are natural and effective pleasant and psychostimulating activities.

Is the risk of brain laziness lurking around the corner? During the holidays, it is good to turn off the computer and moderate alcohol

In summer, the rhythms become more relaxed and it is easy to linger in front of the cell phone screen; at the same time, there are those who do not stop checking their official mail, even during the holidays. In both cases, as Dr. Cuffaro explains, prolonged exposure to the spectrum of light emitted by the screen causes brain fatigue and causes changes in hormone release that can cause circadian rhythm and mood dysfunction. The MioDottore neurologist therefore recommends taking a vacation and free time for disconnect from devices and increase physical activity. A dynamic lifestyle coincides with a trained brain, as long as you avoid the hottest hours of the day. In fact, Dr. Cuffaro points out that “if you force the body and intellect to execute complex commands during the hottest hours, especially in summer with record temperatures, a negative reward will be created in the brain that will move further and further from life, and active from the mind“. The brain’s laziness during the days of relaxation includes not only prolonged smartphone use and a sedentary lifestyle, but also unbalanced diet. During the holidays, we are more indulgent about food and allow ourselves a few extra drinks, losing sight of an important role in ensuring the overall well-being of the gut-brain axis that regulates two-way communication between organisms. nervous system, central and digestive system. To this end, the specialist suggests limiting the consumption of refined products, sugary drinks and high-calorie foods, and increasing the amount and frequency of consumption of fruit and vegetables to deal with the risk of dehydration and, consequently, cognitive decline. Likewise, the neurologist MioDottore also warns against excessive alcohol consumptionas long as “as a result of poisoning, about 100,000 neurons are irretrievably lost, the same amount that is lost with the daily aging of the brain“With a night of excess, corresponding to a day less cerebral youth.

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