Work Out Your Brain

Everyone knows the importance of eating healthy and getting some sort of exercise on a regular basis, but many people forget the importance of also exercising their brain. Studies have shown that doing regular “brain exercises,” along with regular exercise and eating plenty of antioxidants, can increase your brain’s cognitive reserve. There are several types of software that can be purchased to put your brain to work, but experts recommend practicing more real-world activities for more effective brain training. Here are 10 effective and less expensive ways to give your mind a workout.


1. Test your recall: Do something as simple as making a grocery list and try to memorize everything on it. Put it away for an hour or so and then see how many items you can recall.

2. Music: Studies have shown that learning to play a musical instrument over time or singing in a choir can do wonders for an aging mind.

3. Mental Math: With all the technology available today, math is made simple, but figuring out problems the old-fashioned way can be a great mental stimulation. To really test your cognitive abilities, try walking at the same time!

4. Cooking Class: Whether you’re a natural in the kitchen or are more of a microwave chef, try cooking something new. Because cooking involves so many senses (smell, touch, sight and taste) it is ideal for working several different parts of the brain.

5. Learn a new language: Not only does the listening stimulate the brain, but having a rich vocabulary has been linked to reducing the risk of cognitive decline.

6. Visualizing Words: Think about a word and the way it is spelled in your mind and then use either the first two or last two letters to form another word. This activity helps to refresh your brain on the things you already know.

7. Maps: After traveling to a new place, sit down and try to visualize a map that you used and draw it from memory.

8. How good are your tastebuds: When eating a meal, try and identify the different ingredients that you are tasting, like the different spices or other tastes that may be harder to place.

9. Hand-eye coordination: Instead of watching television or using various forms of technology, try a hobby that requires the use of your fine-motor skills like knitting, drawing/coloring or doing a puzzle.

10. Learn a sport: Try a new sport that not only uses the body, but also the mind, for instance yoga, golf or tennis.

The Scoop on Sunscreen

Any sunscreen will protect your skin from the sun, right? – Wrong! There are several factors that play in to how well a sunscreen will protect. Consumer reports tested over 60 sunscreens ranging from lotions to lip balms and found that there are more important factors than just the SPF number. The sun protection factor (SPF) measures how long a sunscreen will protect you from ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation. This radiation is the main cause of sunburn and it also contributes to skin cancer. They also tested for protection against ultraviolet A (UVA) rays, which tan and age your skin, but can also contribute to skin cancer.

In order to get the most out of your sunscreen, Consumer Reports suggests using a broad-spectrum sunscreen that provides protection from both UVB and UVA rays. It is recommended that you use a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 and is water resistant. It’s important to apply sunscreen 15 to 30 minutes before going outside. If you’re using a lotion sunscreen, a teaspoon per area is a good amount to ensure full coverage. If you prefer spray-on sunscreen, apply a thick layer that can be rubbed in (rub it in) and repeat it one more time. Consumer Reports stresses the fact that sunscreen, no matter which type, is to be reapplied every two hours as well as after swimming and sweating to get the best results.



To find out more about sun protection and to see the top-rated sunscreens by Consumer Reports, go to www.consumerreports.org and search for “sunscreen buying guide”. Below you will find some other helpful tips on keeping your skin protected from the sun this summer.


CLOTHING: Wear clothing that covers your skin when in direct sunlight for a long period of time. Hats also help to shade your face.

SHADE: When spending an extended amount of time in the sun, be sure there is a shaded area or bring something like an umbrella or canopy to create a shield from the harmful rays.

SUNGLASSES: Not only are sunglasses an easy way to make a fashion statement, they also are essential for protecting your eyes from UV radiation.

TIME OF DAY: It’s a good idea to spend your time outside when it’s earlier in the morning and in the evening when the sun isn’t as high in the sky.

NO BURN: Try your best to prevent any red, sore or blistered skin and use sunscreen as a last resort. It is best to avoid the damaging rays if at all possible.

UV INDEX: Be sure to check the UV Index to help plan your outdoor activites and avoid sun exposure.

 

http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/sunscreens/buying-guide.htm
http://www.ewg.org/sunscreen/?gclid=CLrjydWy5dMCFQa4wAod8LICew