Today most of us go to the gym to exercise our muscles, run for our endurance and do yoga for our flexibility. Although these exercises are recommended and healthy, we sometimes forget to exercise the most important part of our body, our brain.
Our brain is made up of nerve cells called neurons that are connected by synapses. These synapses transport information from one neuron to the other. As we age, synapses work more slowly and some cells die off and basically the overall brain mass shrinks.
Studies have shown that exercising your brain can not only fend off brain degeneration but can also improve mental agility and reverse memory loss. So, if you have a desire to improve your cognitive skills and overall increase your mental abilities, here are some simple exercises anyone can do.
1. Reading is Brain Exercise
This may sound basic, but never underestimate the power of reading.
By reading, you will be exposed to new ideas that can influence your mind and you will generally improve your vocabulary which will make you more articulate. As we all know, reading improves our general knowledge and because of this, you will be able to hold interesting conversations which are good for expanding your communication and analytical skills.
Probably the best thing about reading is that you will be enjoying yourself completely unaware that your brain is getting exercised.
2. Brain Training Program
You can always train your brain while laying on the couch with your laptop. There are a lot of clinically proven programs on the internet that can help you improve your memory or think faster.
When you find a brain workshop that suits you, just follow their training exercises and you will feel the difference in no time.
3. Learn New Things
Everyone knows that the more you use your brain the better it’s going to perform for you. The white matter in our brain is called myelin and it is crucial in performing a number of tasks.
The more things you learn and practice the more dense myelin in our brain becomes which helps you to learn even better in the future.
By learning new things, we stimulate neurons in our brain which as a result create new neural pathways and allow electrical impulses to travel faster.
Learning an instrument is a great exercise for your brain. It improves your skill to translate something you see (sheet music) to something you actually do (instrument).
Also, learning a new language is a great exercise because it exposes your brain to a new way of thinking and expressing yourself.
4. Play Games
Once your brain realizes that it has mastered something it stops trying and it can get lazy. The trick is to push your limits.
By playing games you will activate different parts of your brain which will increase the range of your mental motion.
So, try some brain teasers and other problem-solving games and here are some options:
- Sudoku: In order to complete a sudoku puzzle, you need to look ahead and follow trails of consequence. These brain activities can help improve short-term memory and concentration.
- Crossword Puzzles: This is a classic brain trainer. Not only does it access your verbal language but also your memory from different aspects of knowledge. Keep in mind that studies have shown that puzzles can delay memory loss and preserve cognitive function.
- Lumosity: This is one of the most well-developed brain training websites out there. It offers mental fitness games, fun brain training, tests and activities backed by science. Also, a great advantage is that you will be able to keep track of your results and improvement.
Today, most of us are addicted to keyboards because it’s the most efficient way of putting information on paper.
Although this may be true, there are some aspects of handwriting that shouldn’t be ignored. Writing letters is more time consuming and onerous and we form them component stroke by component stroke and this process involves pathways that go through the parts of the brain that manage emotion.
Personal, emotional-focussed writing has proven itself to help people recognize and come to terms with their feelings.
Although sleeping isn’t really brain exercise, remember that lack of sleep can reduce the efficiency of our brain function.
The human brain requires a lot of energy to function so if you are constantly exhausted you won’t be able to learn and improve.
So, make sure that you always get enough sleep and keep in mind that a lack of shut-eye can reduce your IQ.
In conclusion, everything that challenges your mind and makes you think a lot is basically a brain exercise.
Always look for new things to entertain your brain, because the healthier the mind the healthier the life.