As Lauren Silverman explains for NPR, research from the University of Texas at Dallas demonstrates that learning a new skill is the best way to keep the brain sharp as time goes on. In fact, the more alien and complex the skill learned, the more likely the brain is to retain higher memory function and strengthened neural connections. By comparison, playing simple “brain games” is more likely to only improve short-term memory, and probably in very specific ways. One more thing learned from research is that exercise—specifically, three days a week for 45 minutes—increases the volume of the brain. You really can work out every muscle!
You can view the full article here: http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2014/05/05/309006780/learning-a-new-skill-works-best-to-keep-your-brain-sharp