While it's important to sweat at the gym, it's equally important to keep your mind in shape. Studies have shown that keeping your brain engaged can help prevent Alzheimer's. Mental stimulation like books, newspapers – even online brain-training exercises – strengthen the brain.
Normal predictable memory changes occur as we age. Starting in your late 20s, your hippocampus, the part of your brain responsible for memory, shrinks an average of 1% a year as memory cells shrivel up and die.
The good news is that shrinking is reversible. Exercise your memory cells with mental tasks that can save your hippocampal cells. But like a muscle, you have to practice it regularly to benefit or you'll lose what you've gained.
Master the rebus puzzle, which uses strategically arranged words or pictures to convey a common word or phrase. For rebus puzzles that use words, try the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, or for rebus puzzles that use pictures to represent a part of the word you're trying to guess, go to MyRebus.com.