Your brain, that is.
Last week I was leafing through a magazine while sitting in a doctor's waiting room. One of the articles in the magazine caught my eye; it was about brain fitness in baby boomers. According to the author, to keep your brain nimble you need to keep learning. When you challenge your brain with new skills and ways of doing things, it increases connections in the brain and improves its effectiveness. Sounded interesting to me, so today I tried doing a normal activity in a different way when I brushed my teeth with my right hand instead of my left.
I'm a confirmed southpaw. Some things I've learned to do right handed, like using a computer mouse. However, most activities are awkward and it takes me longer to do them if I use the "wrong" hand, but I was willing to have the job be a bit more challenging than usual today and use my opposite hand if it meant that I was exercising my brain.
When I went into the bathroom to brush my teeth after breakfast, force of habit caused me to take the brush out of the holder with my left hand. I realized preparing the brush was part of the process, too, so I put the brush back and picked it up with my right hand. I also tackled the toothpaste tube with the opposite hand--my left. It was very awkward; even though I was squeezing the tube with my dominant hand, I ended up with a too much toothpaste on the brush.
Brushing with my right hand was a unique experience. It was actually easier than I thought it would be to do the outside surfaces and tops of my teeth, but the inner surfaces threw me for a loop. I couldn't get the right angle to get everything cleaned. When I was done, I had toothpaste on my chin and all over my lips.
Just to make sure I'd gotten rid of all the plaque-forming materials from my teeth, at the end I switched back to my left hand and did another once-over on all my teeth. I'm not willing to risk a cavity for the sake of exercising my brain!