Do you like doing puzzles?
Activities that challenge your brain, such as working on a Sudoku puzzle, are good for the health of your nervous system. Just like you need to work out your body to stay in shape, your brain also needs a good work out regularly in order to stay sharp.
Keeping the Nervous System Healthy
There are many choices you can make to keep your nervous system healthy. One obvious choice is to avoid using alcohol or other drugs. Not only will you avoid the injury that drugs themselves can cause, but you will also be less likely to get involved in other risky behaviors that could harm your nervous system. Another way to keep the nervous system healthy is to eat a variety of healthy foods. The minerals, calcium and potassium, and vitamins B1 and B12 are important for a healthy nervous system. Some foods that are good sources for these minerals and vitamins are shown below (Figure below).
These foods are sources of nutrients needed for a healthy nervous system.
Daily physical activity is also important for nervous system health. Regular exercise makes your heart more efficient at pumping blood to your brain. As a result, your brain gets more oxygen, which it needs to function normally. The saying “use it or lose it” applies to your brain as well as your body. This means that mental activity, not just physical activity, is important for nervous system health. Doing crossword puzzles, reading, and playing a musical instrument are just a few ways you can keep your brain active.
You can also choose to practice safe behaviors to protect your nervous system from injury. To keep your nervous system safe, choose to:
- Wear safety goggles or sunglasses to protect your eyes from injury.
- Wear hearing protectors, such as ear plugs to protect your ears from loud sounds.
- Wear a safety helmet for activities like bike riding and skating (Figure below).
- Wear a safety belt every time you ride in a motor vehicle.
- Avoid unnecessary risks, such as performing dangerous stunts on your bike.
- Never dive into water that is not approved for diving. If the water is too shallow, you could seriously injure your brain or spinal cord. A few minutes of fun could turn into a lifetime in a wheelchair.
Bicycle helmets help protect from head injuries. Making healthy choices like this can help prevent nervous system injuries that could cause lifelong disability.
- mineral: Chemical element, such as calcium or potassium, that is needed for body processes.
- vitamin: Organic compound needed in small amounts for the body to function properly.
- The minerals, calcium and potassium, and vitamins B1 and B12 are important for a healthy nervous system.
- You can make choices that will help keep your nervous system healthy and safe, such as choosing to wear a bicycle helmet.
Use the resource below to answer the questions that follow.
- The First Key To Health—Your Nervous System at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R6_CDcTLpVI (2:30)
- How can the health of your nervous system affect all other body systems?
- What kinds of problem might you experience if the nerve connection to your stomach were impaired?
- What types of foods are important for a healthy nervous system?
- Name two behaviors that protect your nervous system from injury.