Your brain health is important. We don’t just lose muscle over time, our brains can atrophy, too. More specifically, your brain’s cognitive reserve, its ability to withstand neurological damage due to aging and other factors without...
Your brain health is important. We don’t just lose muscle over time, our brains can atrophy, too. More specifically, your brain’s cognitive reserve, its ability to withstand neurological damage due to aging and other factors without showing visible signs of slowing or memory loss, diminishes through the years. That can make it more difficult to perform mental tasks.
Just like the workouts you do to make your muscles stronger, it’s important to exercise your brain to slow and reduce atrophy. The following brain exercises have been proven to work.
- Test your recall. Make a list, of grocery items, things to do, or anything else that comes to mind — and memorize it. An hour or so later, see how many items you can recall. Make items on the list as challenging as possible for the greatest mental stimulation.
- Play Music. Learn to play a musical instrument or join a choir. Studies show that learning something new and complex over a longer period of time is ideal for the aging mind.
- Do math in your head. Figure out problems without the aid of pencil, paper, or computer; you can make this more difficult, and athletic, by walking at the same time.
- Take a cooking class. Learn how to cook a new cuisine. Cooking uses a number of senses: smell, touch, sight, and taste, which all involve different parts of the brain.
- Learn a new language. The listening and hearing involved stimulates the brain. What’s more, a rich vocabulary has been linked to a reduced risk for cognitive decline.
- Create word pictures. Visualize the spelling of a word in your head, then try and think of any other words that begin (or end) with the same two letters.
- Draw a map from memory. After returning home from visiting a new place, try to draw a map of the area; repeat this exercise each time you visit a new location.
- Challenge your taste buds. When eating, try to identify individual ingredients in your meal, including subtle herbs and spices.
- Refine your hand-eye abilities. Take up a new hobby that involves fine-motor skills, such as knitting, drawing, painting, assembling a puzzle, etc.
- Learn a new sport. Start doing an athletic exercise that utilizes both mind and body, such as yoga, golf, or tennis.
Brain exercise can make you a stronger and overall more-well rounded individual both physically and mentally. Try them out and let us know what you think.