When it comes to keeping the brain sharp and healthy, the key mantra is “Use it or lose it”. Well, maybe not so dramatic because we wouldn’t want anyone to lose their minds but you get the general idea – engaging in mentally stimulating activities keeps the brain sharp and healthy.
Exercise isn’t just meant for the body but for the mind as well. A mind is a terrible thing to waste so people who engage in more mentally challenging activities are more likely to stay sharp. The good thing is that most of these activities are fun. Here are 5 you can try:
- Play games
It could be something as ‘simple’ as playing chess; Angry Birds on your mobile phone or something more elaborate like Battlefield or FIFA. Whatever you choose, just play. Several studies found that playing video games stimulates the parts of the brain that control movement, memory, planning, and fine motor skills.
- Work Out
Exercise gets your heart pumping more blood and although experts aren’t entirely sure, there’s an established correlation between physical activity and improved mood. In addition, the increase in blood supply to the brain from exercise can improve links between brain cells. Staying active can help memory, imagination, and even your ability to plan tasks.
- Neurobic Tasks
Have you ever tried to do something with your eyes closed or in a way that isn’t part of the normal routine? Researchers at Duke University created exercises they call “neurobics,” which challenge your brain to think in new ways. They are quite simple too. For instance, if you’re right-handed, try using your left hand or drive to work using another route. You can also close your eyes and see if you can recognize food by taste.
- Jam some tunes or learn them
Raise your hands if you enjoy your tasks more when there’s music. It just helps your flow. Playing an instrument early in life also pays off in clearer thinking when you’re older as musical experience boosts mental functions that have nothing to do with music, such as memory and ability to plan. It also helps with greater hand coordination. Plus, it’s fun — and it’s never too late to start.
This might be a bit difficult for introverts but talking with others actually sharpens your brain, whether at work, at home, or out in your community. Studies show social activities improve your mind. So volunteer, sign up for a class, or hangout with a friend!