We all know that exercise is good for the body. But recent studies have found that mental exercise improves memory, concentration, and abstract reasoning among people. And great memory can help you succeed in school, in your job, and in life. It can help you learn faster, and fast learners are always in demand.
Your brain is the command center for your entire body. It tells every cell in your body what is should be doing. But with the increase in age, your brain starts to wear out leading to forgetfulness and reduced reactions. But just like you would keep your body in shape with the help of exercise, you could ward off the dulling of mental abilities and strengthen connections with the help of mental exercise.
Memory, like muscular strength, is a use it or lose it proposition. The more you work out your brain, the better you’ll be able to process and remember information. No matter your age, it’s neither too early nor too late to begin a brain fitness regimen that regularly exercises your brain. Here are a few to get you started:
1. Solve puzzles: Buy yourself a book of word puzzles or solve puzzles online. Sudoko and crosswords in your local paper are a good place to start. Solving puzzles makes a great exercise for your brain. Trivia games can boost memory; jigsaw puzzles can help visual and spatial skills. These games will enhance memory, attention, concentration, and more.
2. Learn a new language: Learning a new language requires that you analyze new words and sounds, which not only improves auditory and processing skills, but also memory. You can buy some foreign language CDs or videos to get started.
3. Juggle: Juggling can help boost your reaction times, hand-eye coordination and manual dexterity.
4. Read a lot: Reading is a great stimulus for your brain. Read often a lot of different types of books like newspaper, magazines, novels, articles, ebooks etc and dedicate specific time to it.
5. Relate: Relate information to what you already know. Connect new data to information you already remember. For eg: 2 people living in the same area, or phone numbers and birthdates etc.
6. Break habits: Neural pathways in the brain work much like a road. The more it is used, the easier it becomes. When habits are formed, the pathways in the brain are very well traveled and it doesn’t take much effort to do the activity which results in lethargy. So break habits regularly. Do a routine activity in an unexpected way. For example: brush, eat and drink with your opposite hand. Using your non-dominant hand strengthens the pathways and connections in the opposite side of your brain.
7. Brainstorm: If properly carried out, brainstorming can help you not only come up with sacks full of new ideas; it can help you exercise your mind as well.
8. Socialize: Stimulating conversations and discussions with new people can be a great exercise to get a good memory exercise. A Swedish study found that having a strong social support network lowered the risk of developing dementia by as much as 60 percent.
9. Test your memory: Recall a list of grocery items, things to do, or anything else that comes to mind. Remembering large quantity of information and recalling it regularly keeps the mind active.
10. Get physical exercise: Physical activity is just as important to the brain as it is the muscles. Exercise increases the blood and oxygen flow to the brain, so the brain becomes young and active enough. According to a research done by Australian scientists, an extra 20 minutes of moderate exercise a day could significantly improve mental functioning in people over 50.
11. Engage your senses: Because your senses play a major role in helping your brain interpret your surroundings and store vivid memories, it’s a good idea to indulge in sensual experiences. Try activities that involve as many of your senses as possible, such as gardening, driving etc.
So, these simple exercises may make you a little bit more intelligent and will certainly have good effects on your brain. If you want to better your brain’s performance, you have to stimulate your whole brain. And it’s never too late to start.