How to exercise the brain?
The brain is one of the most important organs in our body. It coordinates all of our bodily functions, processes and generates thoughts and perceptions that we can experience consciously. If you don’t use it, you lose it. Today we’ll explore how to exercise your brain whether you want to increase your memory or learn a new skill.
A recent study from MIT revealed that even though people who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease show significant deterioration of their hippocampus (the area where memories are stored), there is still hope for those people. If they can learn a new skill, their brain cells will start functioning again.
When you learn anything new, your brain creates new neural pathways and networks which help you to remember that information more easily. Learning a language or a musical instrument will improve your memory tremendously. Reading, writing, solving puzzles also help in creating new neural connections and stimulating your brain cells to function better. Exercising your brain is particularly important if you are older than 60 years old because your neurons become less efficient with age. This is why many older people experience memory loss or other cognitive problems such as Alzheimer’s disease.
You can maintain the level of mental performance by stimulating your brain even at an older age. Don’t just take it lying down. Exercise your brain to eliminate cognitive decline in older age. Here are the best ways to exercise your brain:
Reading boosts cognitive brain power
Reading a variety of books, even non-fiction ones, will improve your problem-solving skills and thinking skills. The more you read, the better you become at what you do so continue reading and improve your reading speed. After a while, it is bound to become a habit that keeps you going through long hours of work without losing interest in what you’re doing. You will be surprised at how much your brain benefits from just 20 minutes of reading each day by consciously sitting down and reading for two minutes.
Play memory and concentration games to exercise the brain
Brain games, especially the ones that require you to focus on your mental competencies like memory or attention are an effective way of exercising your brain. These games will improve your concentration and train your mind to develop a variety of problem-solving skills. In fact, these games may even help relieve stress by motivating you and staying focused. Brain Age is one of the most popular brain training programs available nowadays. It is a scientific game developed by Professor Hideo Kageyama who aims to train players’ brains through different cognitive functions which are related to age-related forgetting skills.
Watch motivational videos to exercise your brain
Videos are a great way of improving your memory and disciplining your mind. Watching inspirational and educational videos will motivate you to believe in yourself. If you want to adopt a habit that will improve your life, this is a really good way to go about it. You can even access new knowledge by watching YouTube’s TEDEds which are short explanatory videos created by the TED organization experts. This is one of the best examples of how technology has made its product accessible for people from all walks of life who might not have the opportunity to gain some knowledge about human psychology or behavior.
Exercise your brain with a new skill
Learning a new language, musical instrument or even playing an old game will exercise your brain and improve both your memory retention capacity and mental dexterity. You will be able to remember things better as well as improve your attention span. Think about it, what do you prefer: reading a book or watching TV? Knowledge is power but if you have the power to access knowledge by doing something that you enjoy, you will find it much more interesting. It’s no surprise that research studies show that people who exercise their brains by learning a musical instrument are less likely to suffer from memory loss than those who don’t.
Learn new knowledge
If you don’t know much about something, you can always learn more by reading an article or watching a video. Don’t just rely on your Google search history for information, go out and learn something new that interests you. This activity not only helps in providing a better solution but also improves your brain function. A study conducted by the U.S. National Center for Biotechnology Information found that college students who read at least four articles from various domains (including science, business, and education) were able to retain twice as many facts compared to those who did not engage in this activity. Knowledge can help you improve your memory and develop better problem-solving skills.
Practice mindfulness meditation to exercise the brain
Meditation is one of the greatest methods to exercise your mind; as a matter of fact, it is the most effective way to do so. Meditation will help in focusing and calming your mind while resetting your thoughts which is actually very beneficial in reducing stress and anxiety; just like other activities, meditation also improves memory retention capacity because it helps you concentrate better on whatever it is that you’re doing. In this way, you will enhance cognitive functions such as focus and attention span as well as boost self-confidence by clearing your mind from worry.
Avoid alcohol and smoking to exercise the brain
Alcohol and nicotine have a negative effect on your brain health. While alcohol consumption may help you have a good time but it is very addictive which means it can lead to various problems in the long term. It also leads to depression and makes you lose your self-control. Nicotine, on the other hand, is just as harmful as alcohol except that it is much more difficult to quit than alcohol. A study found that nicotine actually reduces the number of neurons in the hippocampus which plays an essential role in regulating moods. It also affects dopamine levels in the brains of smokers which increases their risk of developing anxiety disorders such as depression or schizophrenia by around 50 percent.
Use art therapy to exercise the brain
Art therapy is not only a relaxing activity but it also improves your cognitive functions in many different ways. Art therapists use creative outlets such as drawing, painting, collages or storytelling to access and express emotions; help normalize moods; rid oneself of stress; and reduce anxiety. In fact, studies show that people who engage in art therapy have lower levels of stress, better sleep quality, and improved emotional regulation than those who do not.
Get enough sleep to exercise your brain
Sleep deprivation is a common problem these days; however, experts say that getting nine hours of sleep every night will definitely help improve your brain function and allow you to perform better at school or work. Sleep helps you do better tasks and remember what you have learned while awake. Sleep is necessary for the proper functioning of your brain; thus, if you don’t sleep enough then your brain will suffer.
Eat right and exercise to exercise the brain
Brain health is directly related to your overall health. During childhood, your brain is still developing and it is important that you eat right in order to stay healthy. Nutrients found in food such as folic acid, omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, polyphenols, and vitamins are essential for maintaining strong neural connections while strengthening the blood vessels of the brain.
Studies show that when you have a healthy diet, you will be less stressed which will improve cognitive functions such as memory, attentiveness, and concentration. Just like with everything else; having a balanced diet also helps enhance brain function as well as improve memory and concentration.
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