6 Brain Exercises to Help Keep You Mentally Sharp
The brain – responsible for thinking, talking, feeling, seeing, hearing, remembering, moving, breathing, and a whole lot more – is a pretty important piece of human. It’s hardly surprising, then, that scientists are increasingly stressing the importance of maintaining a healthy brain.
A brain is just like a muscle: the more it’s used, the stronger it gets. But rather than having to lift weights and run great distances, all it takes is a few simple mental exercises to keep our brains fit and healthy. Here are seven brain exercises to help keep you mentally sharp.
Solving a puzzle is not only a great way to pass the time, but is also a fun and effective workout for your brain. They’re often overlooked as being a somewhat old-fashioned past-time, a dull form of entertainment compared to the games of modern technology. But puzzles have been around for centuries, and they aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. You really can’t go wrong with a jigsaw puzzle.
Research has shown that jigsaw puzzles work multiple brain cognitions simultaneously. By looking at all the different pieces and figuring out where they go, you’re exercising visuospatial cognitive functions. This benefits brains both young and old, since it can help develop spatial awareness during early years, and it can slow down the deterioration of visuospatial ability caused by old age.
2) Learn a new skill
One sure-fire way of positively engaging our brains is to start learning something new. Something that excites us.
Take learning the guitar, for example. Your hands and fingers will have to start moving in new ways, fretting and strumming strings with speed and precision. These movements are all communicated with the brain, and the neurological links between your hands and brain are strengthened as a result. You will also start learning new songs, which requires memory. After a few weeks of practice, you’ll find that your brain is far better equipped to memorize a song than it was when you first started. All this while having a blast, and having something cool to show your friends and family.
The same goes for pretty much any other skill. Research has shown that our brains, particularly our memories, benefit greatly from learning something new.
Meditation is, fundamentally, a spiritual exercise – but in recent years, science has become involved, and research has demonstrated, time and time again, the brain strengthening power of this joyful activity.
The more well-known benefits of meditation include its ability to reduce stress and anxiety, and the general feelings of calm it can induce. We now also know that meditation can help to fine-tune your memory. Exactly how this works is difficult to understand, but it probably has something to do with the processing of information. Meditation allows us to render our thoughts more clearly, and can help to block out unnecessary distractions.Meditation also help as well as kidney stone remedy
4) Learn a new language
This one might take a bit more time, but the rewards are undeniably worth it. Research has shown that bilingualism can contribute to better memory, enhanced creativity, and improved visual-spatial skills.
It’s never too late to learn a new language. There’s a wealth of resources available, whether it’s a tutor, an app, or an online course, meaning you can immediately start reaping the cognitive benefits of learning a new language.
5) Tai Chi
Getting a bit more physical, Tai Chi is a unique martial art that can do wonders for both your physical and mental health. It teaches you to manage stress and channel positive emotions through the use of slow movements, helping to restore balance to your life.
Plus, as recent studies have shown, Tai Chi can improve memory. Long-term practice of tai chi can go so far as to induce structural changes to your brain, literally increasing its volume.
Tai Chi is very accessible. Once you’ve taken a few beginner classes to learn the basic movements, you’ll be able to practice by yourself whenever and wherever you like.
6) Build your vocabulary
Learning new words doesn’t just make you sound smarter – it actually allows your brain to create more ways of retaining information. By growing our vocabulary, we add more components to our long-term memory, and we are able to associate more information with each word. This means our brains have to work less hard in the expression of complex ideas.
A good way to build vocabulary is to take note of any words you come across that you don’t understand. Look up the meaning, and then try to use that word at least three times the following day. This will commit that word to your long-term memory, thus subtly increasing your brain functionality.