By | TERRY GROSS | www.npr.org
Interested in learning a new skill in the new year? CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta says that will also improve your brain health.
“The act of experiencing something new — or even doing something that’s typical for you, but in a different way — can all generate these new brain cells,” says Gupta, a practicing neurosurgeon and associate professor of medicine at Emory University School of Medicine. “We want to constantly be using new paths and trails and roads within our brain.”
The new skill can be simple, Gupta notes. If you’re right handed, try eating with your left hand — or vice versa, if you are a lefty. If you wear a necktie, close your eyes and practice tying it in the dark. No matter how old you are, it’s never too late to develop new brain pathways, Gupta says.
Your ability to process, understand and apply knowledge “can actually get sharper, can get better as you get older,” he says. “It is sort of the use it or lose it phenomenon when it comes to the brain.”