On one hand, you might be right… or left – keeping your brain sharp

December 18, 2012

Let’s start with irony. I can’t actually remember if it was my brother Ben or my neighbor Bill who told me this, but one of them commented about brain function and aging. Ben’s (or Bill’s) point was that you can create new pathways in the brain if you occasionally attempt to perform routine tasks with your opposite hand. This practice could help stave off memory and brain issues later in life.

While I’m pretty certain Ben’s degree is in economics and Bill has an MBA and not a doctorate, I figured I’d give it a shot today. Guess what! It’s freakin’ hard to do!

That’s right. You’re not going to believe me until you try it. First, lots of people say they’re ambidextrous. And that’s because they can operate their car controls with either hand or talk on the phone with either shoulder.

But try a few of these ADLS (activities of daily living) with the hand you don’t usually use.

Butter your toast
Brush your teeth
Open your pill bottles
Comb your hair
Move the computer mouse
Operate the TV remote
Flip a coin
Work a can opener
Use toilet paper
Tape up a package

I didn’t even list the crazy ones like signing your name or throwing a baseball. But isn’t it amazing how difficult this is? And wouldn’t it be cool if just by trying this with different tasks from time to time, you could stave off Alzheimer’s or other brain issues later in life?

Give it a shot and let me know how you do by leaving a post in the comments. Feel free to type with either hand.