Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Brain & Nervous System Health Center

Font Size

How to Keep Your Brain Fit for Life

By Amanda MacMillan
WebMD Feature
Reviewed by Neil Lava, MD

Just like your muscles need exercise, your brain needs mental workouts to stay in shape.

But your gray matter gets so good at doing your daily routine that it barely has to work at it. So, you have to go above and beyond your everyday activities to stimulate it. That can help you prevent or reverse memory loss as you age, research suggests.

Recommended Related to Brain & Nervous System

Familial Encephalopathy with Neuroserpin Inclusion Bodies

Important It is possible that the main title of the report Familial Encephalopathy with Neuroserpin Inclusion Bodies is not the name you expected. Please check the synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and disorder subdivision(s) covered by this report.

Read the Familial Encephalopathy with Neuroserpin Inclusion Bodies article > >

Whether you're young and want to stay sharp for as long as possible, or you're getting older and are concerned about conditions like dementia, you can do a few things to protect your brain and boost your mental abilities.

Use It or Lose It

Keep your mind active. Stay involved in pastimes that make you think on several levels. It’s not enough to mindlessly flip through TV channels, surf the web, or scroll through Facebook.

"We spend too much time on low-level activities that drain the brain," says Sandra Bond Chapman, PhD, director of the Center for BrainHealth at the University of Texas at Dallas. "Instead, take information in, combine it with the rich knowledge already stored in your brain, and transform it into new ideas."

Do this on a regular basis to strengthen the networks in your brain. This can help keep you quick-witted for years to come.

Read or Watch, Then Discuss

Reading a book or even watching TV or movies can be good for your brain -- if you learn something new and think it over afterward. Even better, talk about it with other people, says Norman S. Werdiger, MD, associate clinical professor of neurology at Yale. This helps you make sense of the information on a deeper level.

Talking with other people has its own brain-boosting benefits. You could join a book club or have friends over to watch a movie, then discuss it

"When you have conversations with other people, you're getting feedback from them on how you're doing mentally," Werdiger says, "and you're forced to consider what you're saying and how you're behaving."

This is especially important for older people who spend a lot of time alone. Try to see friends or family regularly to avoid loneliness and depression, which have been linked to lower brain function.

1 | 2 | 3

Today on WebMD

nerve damage
Learn how this disease affects the nervous system.
senior woman with lost expression
Know the early warning signs.
woman in art gallery
Tips to stay smart, sharp, and focused.
medical marijuana plant
What is it used for?
senior man
boy hits soccer ball with head
red and white swirl
marijuana plant
brain illustration stroke
nerve damage
Alzheimers Overview
Graphic of number filled head and dna double helix