- Elon Musk, Investor & Entrepreneur
How do you keep your brain fit? We all know how important it is to keep our bodies fit and healthy. We know about exercises and diets that help us to be in peak shape. Are there workouts we can do to improve the fitness of our brains? There are. We have explored the topic and come up with a list of the top 5 tips for improving your brain fitness.
Before we dive in, let us take a few moments to point out some things about boosting your brainpower. One of the most important elements of superior cognitive functionality is curiosity. Curiosity can be developed. Healthy curiosity about the people, places, and things around you stimulates your brain and gives it an enjoyable workout.
Another important element is the variety. Changing how you exercise your brain improves cognitive function and helps develop curiosity. This list of 5 tips for improving your brain fitness should act as a starting point for you. As your curiosity grows, you may want to look up other brain-boosting exercises and ideas.
Now, on to our 5 best tips for improving your brain fitness.
TIP # 1 EXERCISE
Physical exercise is a great way to improve your brain’s fitness. Research on Alzheimer’s patients and studies on neuroplasticity inform us that aerobic exercise has a profound effect on cognition. There are powerful long-term effects such as new growth, behavioral improvements, and increased memory power.
In a single session of aerobic exercise has been proven to improve immediate cognitive functionality. Some studies show that people who regularly jog, run, walk, swim, or cycle score higher on cognitive function tests. They show an increased ability to control their attention span, their inhibitions, working memory, the speed with which they process information. Imagine that. If you had a brisk 30 minutes of walking 4-5 times a week, your brain fitness would increase dramatically.
TIP # 2 READING
Scientists have discovered that reading a novel improves brain connectivity. That same research found that fiction strengthens the brain’s capacity for empathy and imaginative flexibility. That means the brain can visualize, create, empathize, and memorize with more fluidity and capability. That is because when you are reading fiction you have got to put yourself in the shoes of the characters. To do that you’ve got to use those parts of the brain.
Another reason reading fiction is so good for brain fitness is that it improves something called the theory of mind. That is the brain’s ability to attribute mental states to oneself and others. This means the ability to recognize and attribute belief, intent, desire, emotion, or knowledge. It’s the high-level conceptualization of how we perceive interaction with the people around us.
TIP # 3 SOCIAL INTERACTION
Go hang out with your friends. Have a lighthearted time with friends and companions is a fantastic way to improve brain fitness. Sure, it is a good time, but it also has benefits for cognition. That is because human beings are designed for social interaction. The more we can engage in this basic human behavior the more our brains are stimulated to improve. It may be the most effective form of brain exercise.
More and more research shows that having active friendships and a good support network important for more than just emotional wellbeing. Researchers at Harvard discovered that people with active social lives had a slower decline of memory as the aged. One way you can increases your social interaction is through volunteer work.
TIP # 4 SWITCH IT UP
A growing body of research shows that changing how we stimulate our minds dramatically increases the effectiveness of our cognitive ability. Switching from the crossword to sudoku, taking a different route home from work, or using your opposite hand to open a door occasionally can improve brainpower.
Picking up a new skill is a great way to add a little variety to your brain fitness. If you choose to take this route, make sure you choose to learn a challenging skill. It is also important to pick a skill you can improve on. Learning how to solve a Rubik’s cube is good. Learning chess is better.
TIP # 5 REDUCE SCREEN TIME
We all know sitting in front of the television all day is bad for you. There is more research coming out every day that tells us sitting on our phones or laptops all day also has a negative effect on cognitive development. The problem is we tend to think, since we are being productive on our laptop it’s good for us. The truth is, even if we are doing something productive, the actual effect of being in front of the screen reduces language and testing skills in students.
It has also been discovered to reduce the thickness of the cerebral cortex, the outermost layer of the brain. The cerebral cortex is responsible for processing and interpreting the information from our five senses. It has neurons that are tightly packed and are also responsible for higher functions like speech and decision making. Reducing screen time regularly will help to prevent the loss of cerebral cortex thickness.
THERE IS MORE TO BRAIN FITNESS
There is more to brain fitness than a few simple tips and tricks. It’s a worthy pursuit to do your own research. The mere act of looking up a great mental health routine and applying it to your daily life stimulates cognitive function. Taking the time out of your day to learn ways to reduce stress will also improve your overall brain fitness and mental health.
It is the act of learning the techniques and developing your own brain fitness program that triggers cognitive development. Learning how to take care of your brain and manage brain fitness, mental health, stress reduction, and emotional health will drastically improve your brain’s health. Taking breaks throughout the day, maintaining a healthy work-life balance, and focusing on one task at a time are other ways to improve.
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Thought leaders & celebrities share their tactics for success on the Lisnic podcast by Lisa Teh & Nick Bell