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The brain constantly forms new connections between neurons (brain cells), in partnership with our learning efforts. This dynamic is known as “neuroplasticity,” and it occurs at the beginning of life as the immature brain begins to organize itself. It also takes place in response to a specific brain injury, to compensate for lost functions, and continues across the rest of our lives.

Writer, speaker, and wine expert Michael Gelb suggests some tried and true “brain exercises” that will consistently enhance your own neuroplasticity:

1. Test your recall. Make a list—of grocery items, things to do, or anything else that comes to mind—and memorize it. An hour or so later, see how many items you can recall.

2. Let the music play. Learn to play a musical instrument or join a choir. Studies show that learning something new and complex over a longer period of time is ideal for the aging mind.

3. Do math in your head. Figure out problems without the aid of pencil, paper, or computer; make this more difficult — and athletic — by walking at the same time.

4. Take a cooking class. Learn how to cook a new cuisine; cooking uses a number of senses: smell, touch, sight, and taste, which all involve different brain parts.

5. Learn a foreign language. The listening and hearing involved stimulates the brain. What’s more, a rich vocabulary has been linked to a reduced risk for cognitive decline.

6. Create word pictures. Visualize the spelling of a word in your head, then try and think of any other words that begin (or end) with the same two letters.

7. Draw a map from memory. After returning home from a new place, try to draw a map of the area…even if you fully relied on your phone or car’s GPS (which you totally did!).

8. Challenge your taste buds. When eating, try to identify individual ingredients in your meal, including subtle herbs and spices.

9. Refine your hand-eye abilities. Take up a new hobby that involves fine-motor skills, such as knitting, drawing, painting, assembling a puzzle, etc.

10. Learn a new sport. Start doing an athletic exercise that utilizes both mind and body, such as yoga, golf, or tennis.