Keep your fingers moving

women knitting

I found this article on the Internet the other day about staving off dementia. Most everyone knows that knitting is good for the brain, in addition to great end results for yourself or others. I had always heard that needing to use math, the memorization, etc. were the reasons. Here comes a new one, keeping your fingers moving. That one surprised me a bit. They talk about kids that used to use an abacus had better memories later because their fingers were moving. I suspect that it has as much to do with the mental math as anything, because my fingers are moving quite rapidly as I type this posting, and I am not sure that will keep my mind properly exercised. In any case, I will be continuing to knit, enjoy the products, enjoy the fun of it, and hope that my brain gets a good workout.

Move your fingers to improve your brain

Many people marvel that Asian children seem so intelligent. It could be because they use their fingers more frequently. They eat with chopsticks and at one time, they used to compute with an abacus in school. In fact, some studies have been done with children who use an abacus daily, and findings show that engaging the fingers stimulates nerve endings that go directly to the brain, increasing circulation. Take advantage of this by practicing motor activities that use your fingertips, like crocheting, knitting, and other arts and crafts where you are manipulating small parts. Try playing the piano or a stringed instrument. 



Why does this work? A map of the brain shows that the nerve endings on your fingertips correspond to more areas of the brain than any other body area, except perhaps the tongue and lips. Therefore, finger exercise and movements can be useful in stimulating the neurons in the brain. The National Institute of Mental Health conducted experiments that showed finger exercises enlarged the capacity of the participants’ brains, increased connections between neurons, forged new neural pathways, and increased circulation to the brain areas. The researchers concluded that finger exercise contributed significantly to brain plasticity, the ability of the brain to renew itself. Increased circulation means more oxygen and nutrients for the brain cells and decreased waste products that clog up the brain.