What are some ways to keep your brain in better shape with age? There is such a thing as brain fitness, and it’s an important concept worth taking note of. Here are 8 exercises and habits you can make use of to improve your brain health, memory, creativity, and mental agility.
Our brains, just like our muscles, need stimulation and exercise to stay in shape.
Today, people of all ages scroll mindlessly through their smartphones for hours on end. We’re gradually losing the ability to think creatively, and our memory tends to weaken like never before.
It’s time to stop living in an ‘autopilot’ mode. These 8 simple exercises and habits will help keep your brain fit and alert at any age.
1 – Use your weaker hand
Unless you belong to the rare 1% of the ambidextrous population (people who can use both hands equally well), you likely go through life using mainly your right or left hand without giving it much thought. And that’s the point. It requires conscious thought and effort to use your weaker hand.
So try performing daily activities, such as brushing your teeth and eating, with the hand you don’t normally use. As you learn this new skill, your brain will develop millions of neural connections. It could also come in ‘handy’ for doing more complex tasks in the future.
2 – Play a musical instrument
Learning how to play a new musical instrument exercises many of your brain’s functions, including listening, identifying patterns, and translating written notes into movement and sound.
The steady increase in difficulty from learning a simple tune to mastering a complex musical ballad provides constant growth and stimulation. It’s also a measurable way to monitor your progress and will leave you feeling happy and proud each time you conquer a new piece.
3 – Eat ‘brain-healthy’ foods
Adding ‘brain-healthy’ foods to your diet doesn’t have to be a chore, and you might be surprised at which tasty delights are recommended.
Foods like dark chocolate and salmon contain antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids. These have been shown to boost memory and alertness as well as other benefits for brain health.
People that eat a Mediterranean style diet, one made of fruits, vegetables, fish, nuts, and olive oil, are less likely to develop cognitive impairment and dementia. In addition, some of the world’s oldest centenarians swore by their Mediterranean cuisine and lifestyle.
4 – Stay hydrated
The human brain is made up of roughly 75% water, so you can bet that if you get dehydrated, it’s going to negatively affect your brain function. Drinking at least 8 to 10 glasses of water a day is a proven way to stay mentally sharp and keep the brain functioning well at every stage of life.
Hydration doesn’t have to mean water. Plenty of fresh fruit and vegetable juice has been shown to protect against Alzheimer’s disease in particular. So remember to stay hydrated!
5 – Play with a ball
A simple way to keep boredom at bay and to work on your sensory skills is by throwing a ball into the air and catching it. If that’s too easy or monotonous, try taking up a skill like juggling to take your hand-eye coordination to the next level.
People who master these kinds of movement activities train their brains’ visual, tactile, and coordination responses, which all positively impact the brain. These activities have even been shown in MRI studies to thicken parts of the brain’s cortex. So you can literally be big-headed as you impress your friends with your new skill!
6 – Read books
Swapping your phone for a book or an old-fashioned newspaper every now and again is a smart idea. One of the world’s most successful investors and a notable philanthropist Warren Buffett, who by the way is into his 90s, is known to read a minimum of five to six hours a day.
As opposed to just watching information or a story, reading forces you to visualize and imagine things for yourself. Challenging your brain with such mental exercise is believed to maintain individual brain cells and stimulate communication among them.
7 – Build social networks
Interaction with other people is one of the best forms of stimulation your brain can get. Strong social ties have been associated with a lower risk of dementia, as well as lower blood pressure and longer life expectancy.
Interacting face-to-face with other people requires alertness to both visual and auditory cues. This is because the dialogue is often unpredictable and requires active listening and response. So watching a movie may not count as a social interaction seems like, but it’s still a good occasion for one. Make time to contact your friends and family; it’s worth it for many reasons.
8 – Get a good night’s sleep
And finally, your brain needs time to recharge each and every night. A lack of decent sleep is a sure-fire path to mental decline.
Scientists believe that our brains consolidate learning and memories during sleep. Plus, research has shown that people who don’t sleep enough have more trouble learning new information.
For tips on how you can have better sleep, check out the recommended videos on this channel and subscribe for more.
How many of these brain exercises do you currently do and which ones are you keen to try out? Let us know in the comments!
There is hardly any reward better than a person’s good health. Keep your brain in shape and enjoy the long-term benefits of it.