In these modern times of TV binging, spending hours on the internet, and living our entire lives on our phones, there is an increasing worry that we as a society are not giving our brains as much stimulation as they need. With an all time rise in memory and mind related health issues, people are also searching for the best and easiest ways to give your brain a workout and stay as sharp as possible for as long as possible.
It is well known that engaging in a regular, moderate exercise regime can significantly help aging adults in their attempts to improve brain health and memory. This is due to an increase in blood flow to the area of the brain that can be affected by Alzheimer’s disease. However, many people do not like to work out, whether for other health reasons or a lack of enthusiasm for the activity. If you are one such individual, here are seven other ways to give your brain a good workout.
1. Assess Your Diet
Though it only accounts for roughly 2% of your total body weight, your brain uses up more than 20% of your daily energy intake. This means that your regular food choices can have a significant impact on the level of functionality in your brain. Aim to make healthier choices, with options like avocado, berries, leafy greens and most vegetables being great brain foods.
2. Read More
Research by neuroscientists at Emory University explored the impact on the brain of reading literature, particularly fiction. The study found that individuals engaged in reading a novel registered a much higher level of brain connectivity and functionality compared to test subjects who were asked to watch television. Reading encourages imagination unlike the passive nature of watching a screen.
3. Listen to / Play Music
It was concluded after a study at the University of Kansas Medical Center that the practise of learning to play an instrument or even simply listening to music, can really help brain health as we age. Exploring different genres and the process of finding specific songs and artists that you enjoy is a really beneficial activity for the stimulation of the brain, and of course, the skill and attention needed to learn how to play piano or guitar causes even greater functionality.
4. Strive to Memorise
With stored contacts and email addresses in all of our numerous computers and devices, there really is no need to know numbers and other details by heart these days. A fun, challenging and beneficial exercise to complete is to try to memorise as many important telephone numbers as you can. By doing this you are becoming less reliant on brainless technology whilst at the same time increasing the strength of your own brain.
5. Be Less Dependent on Your Smartphone
As mentioned above, our smartphones can provide us with pretty much any information we need and it is arguably making us much lazier and shortening our attention spans significantly. Give your brain a workout once in a while by trying to follow road signs rather relying on satnav, or by doing some mental arithmetic instead of whipping out the calculator straight away. These small things really can make a difference.
6. Sleep Well
In a modern world where so many of us rely on stimulants like coffee and energy drinks to perk us up in the morning and through the day, it is absolutely vital that you let your body get a good night’s sleep to regenerate its natural energy levels. In order for the brain to be mentally sharp, your entire body needs to be rested and used to a regular sleeping pattern.
7. Think outside the Box
If you live in a routine comfort zone it is very likely that your brain is not nearly as stimulated as it could be. Though routine is great for staying organised, a great way to increase your brain activity is to break out of your comfort zone once in a while and try new things. This could be anything from taking a few new classes to walking a different route home, every little helps.