Your mind is like the rest of your body – you need to exercise it if you want to get the best out of it. When it comes to brain games, research suggests a variety of strategies can help keep your mind sharp and avoid age-related cognitive decline. Here are four easy ones to consider doing as often as possible, courtesy of the Alzheimer’s Association:

    School’s In: When it comes to brain health, lifelong mental stimulation is the key to keeping the brain active and avoiding Alzheimer’s and other diseases that affect the brain and the rest of the body. From crossword puzzles to chess to memory challenges, get your brain involved and avoid the opposite – “brain fading” by spending too much time glued to the boob tube or engaged in other less-stimulating pursuits.

Smart Plate: What you put on your dinner plate can help or hurt your brain health, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. “Research suggests that high cholesterol may contribute to stroke and brain cell damage. A low fat, low cholesterol diet is advisable. And there is growing evidence that a diet rich in dark vegetables and fruits, which contain antioxidants, may help protect brain cells.”

Nice to Meet You: Maintaining an active, engaging social network has brain benefits, research suggests. Emotional support and close personal relationships appear to reduce dementia risk. When you’re interacting with people, your brain is engaged, pure and simple.

Motion Sensor: Exercise isn’t just good for the body; the brain benefits as well. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, “Aerobic exercise improves oxygen consumption, which benefits brain function … Physical activities that also involve mental activity – plotting your route, observing traffic signals, making choices – provide additional value for brain health.”