If you haven’t already heard it before, I will kindly remind you once again, using the Internet benefits your brain for the long haul. It’s actually been said that doing an Internet search stimulates aging brains even more than reading a book. Just ask Jean Carper, award-winning medical journalist and the author of 100 Simple Things You Can Do to Prevent Alzheimer’s.
Carper’s research lead her to Gary Small, MD, director of the UCLA Center on Aging, who said, “Internet searching engages complicated brain activity, which may help exercise and improve brain function.” See? I told you so. Small, using MRI scans, measured the intensity of activity in the brains of middle-aged and older adults while they searched something on the Internet.
He discovered that activity picks up dramatically in the brains of experienced surfers – mainly in regions related to decision-making and complex reasoning, which are not stimulated simply by reading. And, as an added bonus, the MRIs showed that the more frequent Internet user had twice as much brain activity than beginners.
What’s even more jaw dropping? “Small found that people ages 55 to 78 who rarely used the Internet previously were able to trigger these key centers in the brain after only one week of surfing the Web for an hour each day.” One reason as to why perusing the Web may be so beneficial, is because of the multiple decisions you are forced to make with the click of your mouse to get to the root of the information you are looking for. With this constant decision making process, we engage important cognitive circuits in our brain, giving ourselves a mental workout!
Mental exercise, like physical exercise, appears to strengthen your brain’s resistance to mental decline and Alzheimer’s, writes Carper. And our world is full of technology that encourages us to do this without realizing it because it’s fun, engaging and you can challenge yourself without breaking a sweat!
A great way to stimulate your brain is to play quick “brain games” that can be found online, such as Posit Science. Here, they offer the 60-Second Brain Game, the Brain Speed Test, the Word List Recall and more. Posit Science not only offers a Total Training Package, but also offers Brain Training products that focus on enhancing different parts of your brain, such as auditory or visual.
Does this peak your interest? Want to check it out? Well SERC is more than happy to announce that you can experience it in person! Come out and participate in our free eight-week computer-based brain-training program at the Iroquois Branch of the Oakville Public Library. For more information as to how you can join please click on our flyer below. More locations to be announced soon!
And remember, it’s never too late to start browsing the web – happy surfing!