The brain is involved in everything we do and, like any other part of the body, it needs to be cared for too. Exercising the brain to improve memory, focus, or daily functionality is a top priority for many people, especially as they get older. That said, people of all ages can benefit from incorporating a few simple brain exercises into their daily life, which we’ll explore in more detail in this article.
Doing certain brain exercises to help boost your memory, concentration, and focus can make daily tasks quicker and easier to do, and keep your brain sharp as you get older.
Here are a list of things you could do for good brain health:
1. Have fun with a jigsaw puzzle
Whether you’re putting together a 1,000-piece image of the Eiffel Tower or joining 100 pieces to make Mickey Mouse, working on a jigsaw puzzle is an excellent way to strengthen your brain.
ResearchTrusted Source has shown that doing jigsaw puzzles recruits multiple cognitive abilities and is a protective factor for visuospatial cognitive aging. In other words, when putting together a jigsaw puzzle, you have to look at different pieces and figure out where they fit within the larger picture. This can be a great way to challenge and exercise your brain.
2. Practice mindfulness
Stop at regular periods throughout your day and mentally check-in with yourself. Notice any tension or preoccupations, without judging or analysing. If it’s not something you can change now, why not shelve it until later? Don’t “waste” your worry.
3. Notice the details
Take time to observe the sights and sounds around you, and then tell others about them. Listen carefully for details when talking to others and paint a mental image of what they’re telling you. Doing so prompts the growth of new cells in the visual, verbal and memory parts of the brain.
4. Try your hand at cards
When’s the last time you played a game of cards? Researchers who conducted a study in 2015Trusted Source on mentally stimulating activities for adults, say a quick card game can lead to greater brain volume in several regions of the brain. The same study also found that a game of cards could improve memory and thinking skills.
Try learning one of these tried-and-true card games:
- gin rummy
- crazy eights
5. Learn, Learn, Learn
Learning stimulates. Learn a variety of new things that are unrelated to what you normally do. Variety is key.. meet new people, learn a new skill, learn to dance, take up drawing or knitting.
6. Step Outside Your Comfort Zone
This is tremendous for your brain. Do something that stretches you and makes you somewhat uncomfortable. Travel, vary your routine. If you are a very goal-oriented person, try doing something for the heck of it occasionally.
7. Listen to music
Turn up your favorite tunes and allow the music to lower your stress level and the stress hormones that inhibit memory. Music also increases positive feelings and helps to improve focus.
8. Build your vocabulary
A rich vocabulary has a way of making you sound smart. But did you know you can also turn a quick vocab lesson into a stimulating brain game?
Research shows that many more regions of the brain are involved in vocabulary tasks, particularly in areas that are important for visual and auditory processing. To test this theory, try this cognitive-boosting activity:
- Keep a notebook with you when you read.
- Write down one unfamiliar word, then look up the definition.
- Try to use that word five times the next day.
Sports. Politics. Business. Religion. A healthy debate forces you to think on your feet and forms new neural pathways. Just be sure you can hold a debate without getting angry.
In conclusion, making healthy lifestyle choices, such as eating healthy, avoiding alcohol and tobacco, and keeping health issues (such as diabetes and cholesterol) in check are also important for keeping your mind healthy and sharp.