No matter how young you are, it is never too soon to find ways to exercise your brain. Hardly a week goes by without someone somewhere discovering something about Alzheimer’s or dementia. Exercising your brain regularly is one of the key ways to reduce your risk. What’s even better is, you get more joy out of life when using ways to exercise your brain.
1. Learn a New Language
Very few ways to exercise your brain are as useful as learning a new language. Being able to speak more than just one significantly enhances your chances on the international job market. There are a few that are spoken in multiple countries, such as Spanish, French, and Dutch. Others are simply essential in the business world, like Mandarin and Japanese. Or, if you are like me and you live somewhere with a unique dialect, you can learn a rare one like Welsh.
2. Play Brain Games
Yep, brain games are everywhere these days. I am yet to see significant evidence that they have a huge advantage over good old basic learning. However, they are fun, and engaging in games is better than doing nothing. You can purchase games for your phone, console, or PC. There are also plenty of free versions online.
3. Take a Free Course
Ivy League and Russell Group universities are falling all over themselves to offer free courses via sites like Coursera. I tried taking a world history one with Princeton (I think it was Princeton), but got so busy with my actual degree that I never completed it. There are courses across most topics. History, religion, physics, chemistry…if there is something you want to learn about, get stuck in. Some offer a certificate of completion, which always looks great on your CV.
Crosswords are old fashioned, but they ain’t just for the old. They force you to think, often cryptically. If they don’t appeal to you, try Sudoku. Almost any puzzle is great for making sure your brain keeps working.
5. Change Your Routine
We so often focus on the memory centers in our brains that it becomes easy to neglect our ability to pay attention. Most of us have daily routines. If you do, now is the time to change it. You don’t have to make dramatic changes, just alter your route to work or something similar. By doing this, you force your brain to re-focus, which in turn enhances your attention span.
6. Read Something New
If you are a fan of Jodi Picoult, change to Emily Bronte. Already a Bronte lover? Go for full on Shakespeare or Chaucer. By challenging yourself to read something outside of your language barrier, you learn new words and sentence patterns. This in turn enhances your vocabulary and exercises your language centers.
7. Have Fun
Exercising your brain to keep it young isn’t just about strenuous activities. You need to have fun too! Said fun can mean socializing, video games, or watching your favorite movie. Most of us do plenty of this, without doing much else. Strike the right balance, and your natural ability to have fun can benefit your brain as much as the other suggestions in this list.
Most of us are very busy. As a result, it’s not realistic to try and fit all of these activities in on a daily basis. That doesn’t matter, so long as you try your hand at them once a week. If you have ways you like to exercise your brain, or if you have tried something on this list, how has it worked for you?