Keep Your Brain Alive: 83 Neurobic Exercises to Help Prevent Memory Loss and Increase Mental Fitness

Keep Your Brain Alive: 83 Neurobic Exercises to Help Prevent Memory Loss and Increase Mental Fitness


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Over 40? Getting forgetful? Having trouble learning new things, or remembering that actress’s name without reaching for your smartphone? Neurobics are simple, unique brain exercises that can be done anywhere, anytime. Now, the Neurobics bestseller How to Keep Your Brain Alive is repackaged in a trim, tote-able format that makes it an ideal gift.

Based on leading neurobiological research, Keep Your Brain Alive introduces a regimen of mental cross-training—a series of deceptively simple exercises that help stimulate the production of natural growth factors called neurotrophins, which in turn grow brain cells and keep the brain younger and stronger. And nothing so easily stimulates the brain as breaking routines and using the five senses in new and unexpected ways. So if you’re right-handed, wake up tomorrow and brush your teeth with your left hand. Or close your eyes before you get in the car and insert the key into the ignition. Every time you open a new circuit in your brain, it’s like doing a round of mental sit-ups.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780761168935
Publisher: Workman Publishing Company, Inc.
Publication date: 03/25/2014
Pages: 204
Sales rank: 115,911
Product dimensions: 4.00(w) x 5.90(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Dr. Lawrence Katz was a professor of neurobiology and researcher at Duke University Medical Center. He lived in Durham, North Carolina.

Manning Rubin, a former Creative Director at J. Walter Thompson and Senior Creative Supervisor at K2Digital, Inc. is now at work on several new books. He lives in Pawlet, VT.

Gary Small, M.D., is director of the UCLA Longevity Center. Named one of the world’s leading innovators in science and technology by Scientific American, he appears frequently on Today, Good Morning America, PBS, and CNN. He is also author of the bestselling The Memory Bible.

Read an Excerpt


As the population of over 76 million Baby Boomers approaches middle age and beyond, the issue of preserving mental powers throughout greatly increased life spans has reached an almost fever pitch. There is a growing interest in - and optimism about - preserving and enhancing the brain's capabilities into senior years. With the help of powerful new tools of molecular biology and brain imaging, neuroscientists around the world have literally been looking into the mind as it thinks. Almost daily, they are discovering that many of the negative myths about the aging brain are, indeed, only myths: "Older and wiser" is not just a hopeful cliche but can be the reality. In much the same way that you can maintain your physical well-being, you can take charge of your mental health and fitness.

Although new and therefore not yet proved by large body of tests, Neurobics is based on solid scientific ground; it is an exciting synthesis of substantial findings about the brain that provides a concrete strategy for keeping the brain fit and flexible as you grow older.

From Theory to Practice

Jane reached into her pocketbook and fished inside for the keys to her apartment. Usually they were in the outside flap but not today. "Did I forget them?! they are." She felt their shapes to figure out which one would open the top lock. It took her two tries until she heard the welcome click of the lock opening. Inside the door she reached to the left for the light switch...but why bother? Her husband would do that later. Touching the wall lightly with her fingertips, she moved to the closet on the right, found it, and hung up her coat. She turned slowly and visualized in her mind the location of the table holding her telephone and answering machine. Carefully she headed in that direction, guided by the feel of the leather armchair and the scent of a vase of birthday roses, anxious to avoid the sharp edge of the coffee table and hoping to have some messages from her family waiting.

The table. The answering machine. She reached out and brushed her fingers across what she believed to be the play button. "What if I push the delete button?" she thought, and again checked to make sure she was right. Yesterday it was so easy. She could have done all this simply by looking around. Today was different. She could see nothing.

But Jane had not suddenly gone blind. At age 50, she was introducing a lifestyle strategy called Neurobics into her daily activities. Based on recent discoveries in brain science, Neurobics is a new form of brain exercise designed to help keep the brain agile and healthy. By breaking her usual homecoming routine, Jane had placed her brain's attentional circuits in high gear. With her eyes closed, she had to rely on her senses of touch, smell, hearing, and spatial memory to do something they rarely did - navigate through her apartment. And she was involving her emotional sense by feeling the stresses of not being able to see. All these actions created new and different patterns of neuron activity in her brain - which is how Neurobics works.

This book will explain the principles behind Neurobics and how the exercises enhance the overall health of your brain as you grow older.


Brush your teeth with your nondominant hand (including opening the tube and applying toothpaste). You can substitute any morning activity - styling your hair, shaving, applying makeup, buttoning clothes, putting in cuff links, eating or using the TV remote.

* This exercise requires you to use the opposite side of your brain instead of the side you normally use. Consequentially, all those circuits, connections, and brain areas involved in using your dominant hand are inactive, while their counterparts on the other side of your brain are suddenly required to direct a set of behavior in which they usually don't participate. Research has shown that this type of exercise can result in a rapid and substantial expansion of circuits in the parts of the cortex that control and process tactile information from the hand.


Use only one hand to do tasks like buttoning a shirt, tying a shoe, or getting dressed. For a real workout, try using just your nondominant hand.

Another exercise that associates unusual sensory and motor pathways in your cortex with a routine activity is to use your feet to put your socks and underwear in the laundry basket or pick out your shoes for the day.

Excerpted from How to Keep Your Brain Alive. Copyright (c) 1999 by Lawrence C. Katz and Manning Rubin. Reprinted with permission by Workman Publishing.

Table of Contents


Neurobics: The New Science of Brain Exercise

How the Brain Works

How Neurobics Works

Starting and Ending the Day


At Work

At the Market

At Mealtimes

At Leisure

Customer Reviews

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Keep Your Brain Alive: Neurobic Exercises to Help Prevent Memory Loss and Increase Mental Fitness 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 16 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Keep Your Brain Alive is very easy to read.The neurobic exercises are fun.I thought they would interfere with my usually hectic day but far from it.The science is also easy to understand and very logical. It's encouraging to think I can actually do something to help keep my mind fit as I move along in years. I believe this book is important. That's why I'm taking the time to comment on it.It is something we boomers can do,pardon the pun,without thinking about it
Guest More than 1 year ago
in my modest opinion, social interaction has been the best brain enhancer for me.. whether it is just sharing what this little book is about with your friend, boyfriend/girlfriend, spouse, child, sibling, parent-another human being-- or doing the the exercises with the other- is fun, loving, different- and does not fun, funny and loving make you happy? and happiness is a result of endorphins and endorphins are generated by the brain and generate well being? so easy to understand it is motivating..
Guest More than 1 year ago
Keep Your Brain Alive with neurobic exercises reminded me of that which I learned through physical exercising years ago; if its fun, its easy to stick with and it works. Without the day to day stimuli I encountered as a younger person, I enjoy and notice the acuity difference I derive from these simple and productive tasks. And, it comforts me to know that I have some control over my aging mind. I've told my friends, its a book for boomers for sure.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
“Keep Your Brain Alive” by renowned neurobiolgist Lawrence Katz, gives the reader basic background background info about how the brain's prcesses of handling information. The author explains how we can He then proceeds to give the reader some easy, practical exercises that most of us can blend into our everyday lives. One example would be using our non-dominant hand for some things. Studies have shown that these types of exercises build new connections and help us maintain optimum brain health, as we age. My husband and I are enjoying trying out some of the exercises. You can finish the book at one sitting, inasmuch as it contains only 77 pages. But they are 77 pages packed with feasible exercises in the field of brain exercises called neurobics.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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MyFunnyDadHarryAuthor More than 1 year ago
This is a quick-read but very interesting and practical. The gist of the book is to improve memory, you need to keep your brain active and use all of your senses. ¿Routines can be brain deadening.¿ Basically, learn to enjoy new experiences, change things around, interact with people and change up routines. The most startling thing I learned from reading this book is: "Research has shown that watching television literally numbs the mind: The brain is less active during TV-viewing than during sleep!" (p. 117)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Samson1 More than 1 year ago
This book was bought as a gift for my husband at Christmas. He isn't usually much on puzzles, quizzes, suduko, etc. He has found that this book of "brain tests/teasers" is quite interesting. Great for keeping the mind active and in tune.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
After a brief scan of the beek I knew it was not at all what I had hoped for and returned it. Recommend that you take a peak before you purchase.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Eve_T More than 1 year ago
I ran across this little book in the process of studying some related material and I can't get over how user-friendly it is, as well as containing a wealth of information and concrete suggestions for stimulating your brain and nervous system. The "neurobic exercises" are fun and very easy to integrate into any lifestyle. I would highly recommend this book to anyone wanting to improve their memory and mental focus, and reduce their risk of developing age-related mental deficits. In fact, I plan to give copies of it to several of my loved ones.
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tiger54 More than 1 year ago
it was an enjoyable read.