5 Brain Exercises to Strengthen Your Mind
1. What Can You Do to Strengthen Your Mind?
While you might know that you need to exercise your body, did you know that it might also be important to exercise your mind? You’ve probably heard the old adage “use it or lose it.” Many researchers do believe that this maxim applies to your brain health.5 Brain exercises to strengthen your mind.
Brain training is all the rage these days, often touted as a way to sharpen your mind and even boost intelligence. While many cognitive scientists suggest that the claims surrounding brain training are both exaggerated and misleading, there is an abundance of research suggesting that certain types of activities can be beneficial for your brain’s health.
The brain’s plasticity allows it to adapt and change, even as you grow older. As you learn new things, you can create and strengthen neural pathways and networks. This helps make your brain stronger, but it can also help make it more flexible and adaptable to change.
These benefits can be particularly useful for keeping your mind sharp as you get older.
One extensive study involved more than 2,800 participants over the age of 65 who each engaged in one of three different forms of cognitive training. Types of training used included speed of processing training, memory training, and reasoning training.
The researchers found that those in the speed of the processing group experienced the greatest benefits, possibly because the training resulted in a broader brain activation pattern. However, all three groups benefited, experiencing protection from age-related cognitive declines that lasted at least five years. Clearly certain mental activities can have important brain benefits.
The researchers found that those in the speed of the processing group experienced the greatest benefits, possibly because the training resulted in a broader brain activation pattern. However, all three groups benefited, experiencing protection from age-related cognitive declines that lasted at least five years. Clearly certain mental activities can have an important brain
2. Take Care of Your Body to Take Care of Your Mind
If you want to take care of your mind, you need to start by taking care of your body.
Research has time and time again shown that people who engage in healthy behaviors such as staying positive, exercise and proper nutrition are less susceptible to the cognitive declines associated with the aging process
One study published in 2013 looked at healthy behaviors in nearly 2,300 men over the course of thirty years. Researchers looked at the participants’ behaviors and cognitive abilities starting in middle age tracked their progress throughout old age.
The researchers found that men who practiced certain healthy behaviors were around 60 percent less likely to experience cognitive impairment and dementia as they age. These healthy behaviors included not smoking, maintaining a healthy BMI, regularly exercising, consuming lots of vegetables and fruits and consuming a low to moderate amount of alcohol.
3.Draw a Map of Your Town From Memory
While you might feel like you can navigate the streets of your neighborhood with your eyes closed, try challenging your brain by actually drawing a map of your town or neighborhood from memory. No cheating! Try to include major streets, major side streets, and local landmarks.
Once you are done, compare your memory map to a real map of the area. How did you do? Are you surprised by some of the things that you missed? If you found this activity too easy, try drawing a less familiar area from memory, such as a map of the entire United States or Europe, and try to label every state or country.
4.Learn Something New
This brain exercise requires a bit of commitment, but it is also one that just might give you the most bang for your buck. Learning something new is one way to keep your brain on its toes and continually introduce new challenges.
In one study, researchers assigned older adults to learn a variety of new skills ranging from digital photography to quilting. They then did memory tests and compared the experimental groups to control groups. Those in the control groups had engaged in activities that were fun but not mentally challenging such as watching movies and listening to the radio
They also discovered that these memory improvements were still present when tested again a year later.
Some things you might want to try to include learning a new language, learning to play a musical instrument, or learning a new hobby. Not only will you be stretching your mind, but you will also be continually learning something new as you keep expanding your skills and becoming more accomplished.
5. Try Using Your Non-Dominant Hand
Up next is an interesting brain exercise that one neurobiologist suggests might help “keep your brain alive.”
In his book Keep Your Brain Alive: 83 Neurobic Exercises to Help Prevent Memory Loss and Increase Mental Fitness, neurobiologist Lawrence Katz recommends using your non-dominant hand to strengthen your mind. Because using your opposite hand can be so challenging, it can be a great way to increase brain activity.
Try switching hands while you are eating dinner or when you are trying to write something down. It will be difficult, but that is exactly the point. For more information regarding the non- dominant hand.
These are some exercises you can try to improvise yourself.