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Six tips for keeping your brain fit

Dr. Alvaro Pascual-Leone (near right) and Dr. Mo Shafi use magnetic stimulation technology to observe brain function on a study participant at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.
Dr. Alvaro Pascual-Leone (near right) and Dr. Mo Shafi use magnetic stimulation technology to observe brain function on a study participant at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.Colm O’Molloy for The Boston Globe

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There are six essential components to a brain fitness program. Tailored to individual skills and needs, such a program can help anyone at any age, researchers say. Components include cognitive training, exercise, diet, sleep, social interaction, and stress control.

Cognitive training To work optimally, our brains need to be challenged, though it’s not as simple as doing crosswords or reading the newspaper. Really challenging your brain might mean taking up a new instrument or learning a second language. (Learning more than one language in childhood helps keep your brain strong decades later, but once you learn two, a third language provides fewer added benefits, research suggests.)

Exercise Decades of scientific research support the idea that physical exercise is essential to brain health at any age.

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