As kids grow, every new experience develops their brain. But as adults, we tend to think that our brains are done changing.
However, studies show that learning can physically change your brain even in adulthood.
What Is Brain Plasticity?
Your brain’s ability to change is called brain plasticity. There are two ways that learning can physically change your brain and increase its plasticity:
Learning Changes the Internal Structure of Your Neurons
Many people believe that human bodies cannot create new neurons in adulthood. But new research shows that you do gain some new neurons over time. Additionally, your body constantly keeps renewing the myelin that surrounds your axons. More myelin means better functioning neurons.
So what can you do to change the structure of your brain cells? Learn new things, and then practice them a lot. After all, the more a particular neuron is in use, the better its structure will be.
Learning Increases the Number of Synapses Between Your Neurons
Faster firing neurons mean better bran plasticity. Some neurons can sort of wire together – meaning that they pass synapses to each other almost instantly.
Once again, your best bet is practice. When your bran uses a particular pathway, the neurons there will communicate faster.
So What Can You Do to Improve Your Brain Plasticity?
The more you use your brain, the better your neurons will work. This is why memory games are a great way to protect yourself from memory loss. If you exercise the pathways you need for recall, they will work better in real-life situations.
It’s a good idea to practice your long-term memory as well. For example, taking up a new language is an excellent approach to keeping sharp as an older adult.
In addition to learning new things, you should make sure you are getting enough sleep. Your brain needs downtime to complete myelin production, among other things.
In short, learning can physically change your brain by improving your neurons and the number of synapses between them. Thus, you can keep developing your brain at any age. Staying in good shape generally is important as well, so make sure your brain’s getting all the rest, fresh air, and nutrients that it needs.