The risk of developing Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia increases as you get older, especially after age 65. Many studies have found that staying physically, socially, and mentally active can reduce the risk of memory loss and other symptoms of these diseases.

Staying active keeps cognitive decline at bay by making the brain form new synapses. Synapses are connections between brain cells, and new ones are created whenever we learn new skills. Here are some fun ways to build new synapses and keep your brain healthy:

Go Dancing

Picking up new steps engages many different parts of the brain. It’s also a good way to get in some aerobic exercise.

Volunteer

Not only will you help a cause you support, but you'll also meet new people and learn new skills.

Play a Variety of Games

This includes working different puzzles. You only form new synapses when you're doing an activity at which you're not already an expert. If you're a crossword expert, try sudoku instead. If you play a lot of bridge, switch to hearts, spades, or poker.

Travel

Navigating an unfamiliar city and visiting new places are great ways to build synapses.

Learn a Foreign Language

Acquisition of new language skills is one of the most effective ways to build new synapses between brain cells.

Turn Off the TV

One study found that people who watched fewer than seven hours of television per day were half as likely to develop memory problems as those who watched more than seven hours.

Read a Book

Recent studies have shown that people who read regularly are less likely to suffer mental problems as they get older. And it doesn’t have to be Proust, either; reading newspapers and magazines can also help keep your mind sharp.