No, I’m not talking about physical exercise (the kind that my friend and yours, Ricardo Cahill, engages in regularly, reaching for a cold one). I refer to mental exercise, which — as I’m sure my other friend, Dr. Don, will corroborate for a co-robber-rate fee — is just as necessary for brain health as physical exercise is for bodily well-being.
Therefore, as a public service, I turn to an expert on the subject: Bernard Croisile, M.D. Neurology and Ph. D. Neuropsychology, with additional commentary by mistermuse, B.S.E.R. According to Dr. Croisile, our minds consist of five main cognitive functions, all of which need to be challenged and exercised: memory, attention, language, visual-spatial skills and executive function.
Memory – To maintain a good memory, says Dr. C., you need to train for it. One training exercise Dr. C. recommends is to get dressed in the dark, which helps build new associations between different neural connections of the brain.You will find proficiency in this activity particularly useful when needing to slip out of your bedroom undetected by your spouse.
Attention – You can improve your attention by changing your routine. For example, change your route to work, which forces your brain to wake up from habit and pay attention. Or, if caught sneaking fully dressed out of your bedroom, you may have to change your spouse, which accomplishes the same result, but you’ll probably pay a lot more than attention.
Language – Language skills challenge your ability to recognize and understand words and increase fluency. You can exercise this ability by reading challenging works of genius and insight. This, of course, can most conveniently be accomplished by devouring every word of every post written by mistermuse, past, present and future.
Visual-Spatial – Quoting Dr. C., “We live in a colorful, three dimensional world. Analyzing visual information is necessary to be able to act within your environment.” This may seem so obvious as to go without saying. But who am I to question a Ph. D. in Neuropsychology — I am but a lowly B.S.E.R. Sometimes profundity hides in plain sight — er, in visual-spatiality.
Executive Function – In other words, decision making. Problem solving. Exercise your logic and reasoning skills and calculate the right moves to reach a solution. For instance, think of a chore around the house which requires initiative and planning. Or just ask your wife. “Yes, dear” is still the time-honored executive function which works best in such company.
As that brain Einstein said, “The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.” As I would say if I were a journalist’s brain in Iraq, “I imagine I’d better quit while I’m a head.”