From the You Can’t Make This Shit Up Department: Chuck Norris, a world class dullard if ever there was one, has devoted an entire column to the concept of “brain training.” He offers this list of suggestions, which actually aren’t bad ideas at all, especially for older people:
Based upon the five main cognitive functions – memory, attention, language, visual-spatial skills and executive function – Croisile recommends stimulating and challenging each area to stay mentally sharp as we and our brains age:
- By choosing a song you don’t know and memorizing its lyrics, you boost the level of the brain-building chemical acetylcholine (You can also memorize Scripture or poetry).
- Change your routine or combine activities – such as listening to an audiobook while jogging or doing math in your head while driving – to increase your attention span.
- Increase your vocabulary by reading something of a greater intellectual caliber than what you typically read or know. Understanding the new words in context will build your language skills.
- Enhance your visual-spatial abilities by picking out five things in any setting in our great, colorful three-dimensional world, and then recall those things and their locations a few times later in the day.
- Engage in some strategy and problem-solving situations (real or imaginary – yes, even through video games); your intellectual performance will expand your executive function.
With 76 million baby boomers in the U.S. going into retirement and advancing into old age, this is a timely reminder about the muscle in mental health. It’s what the writer of Proverbs wrote more than two millenniums ago: “As a person thinks, so he or she is.”
Now if the person saying this had any ability to think beyond the most basic functions, that might sound a lot more credible. Chuck Norris giving advice on brain training is as absurd as me teaching a class on martial arts.