How To Exercise The Brain

Flex Your Brain Muscle

We use our brains for everything. 

According to researchers of How Does The Brain Work? It’s essentially a big walnut which “processes information that it receives from the senses and body, and sends messages back to the body.”

The brain is responsible for the following:

  • Abstract thinking
  • Sensory emotion 
  • Movement 
  • Speech
  • Hearing 
  • Intelligence 
  • Memory 
  • Spatial thinking 
  • The body. 

And like the rest of our body, it needs to be taken care of. 

Exercising your brain could help to improve your focus, memory, and attention. As you age your brain becomes sensitive to cognitive deficits, impairments and overall decline. 

These deficits can manifest into diseases like Alzheimer’s and Dementia. Exercising your brain could potentially fend off any decline. 

Flexing your brain can also help to develop brain reserve. The idea of brain reserve “refers to the ability to tolerate the age-related changes.”

However, exercising the brain is something everyone can benefit from, regardless of age. And we have five fool-proof ways to do just that. 

1. Exercise 

Exercise for your brain doesn’t always mean exercise for your body. But in this case it does. 

A study produced by Michelle Ploughman titled, Exercise Is Brain Food: The Effects Of Physical Activity On Cognitive Function explores the relationship between physical exercise and cognitive function. 

In the clinical studies, researchers found, “exercise increases brain volume in areas implicated in executive processing.” With other brain enhancing effects such as:

  • Neuroinflammation
  • Vascularization
  • Antioxidation
  • Energy Adaptation
  • Regulations on neurotrophic factors and neurotransmitters.

Exercise comes in many different shapes and sizes. It could be anything from lifting weights to running and swimming. However, be sure to be exercising correctly and consult any professionals before starting. 

2. Learn A New Language 

Learning a new language isn’t just a great skill to put on your CV. Research on The Cognitive Benefits Of Being Bilingual found being bilingual has some brain boosting benefits. 

Dr. Marian and Shook, through their research found the “bilingual brain can have better attention and task-switching capacities than the monolingual brain.” This is due to the developed ability to “inhabit one language while using another.”  

As it turns out, age is irrelevant when it comes to learning a new language, as positive impact on cognition is shown on both young and older adults.  

Results of the study show, bilingual children as young as seven months can adjust to environmental changes better than their monolingual counterparts. Whilst bilingual seniors can “experience less cognitive decline.”

Learning  a new language is now easier than ever, you can hire a tutor or use resources such as Duolingo and Babbel. These online language learning services are accessible from anywhere and are at your fingertips. 

3. Play Peak–Brain Training

Peak is one of the leading names in the world when it comes to brain training games. With more than 40 games to play. A handful of which are backed by science or have been created in partnership with neuroscientists and experts at the top of their field. 

In the study The Impact Of Neuroscience On Society: Cognitive Enhancement In Neuropsychiatric Disorders And In Healthy People Sahakian et al. explore the effects of brain training. 

Through their research they found “cognitive enhancers such as smart drugs and devices have the potential to provide benefits in healthy people.”

Furthermore, Sahakian et al. also collaborated with Peak to develop the Focus game Decoder. The team documented their process and findings in a study now published in Frontiers Of Behavioural Neuroscience. In which they conclude, the users in their study who played Decoder “significantly improved attention in tests, versus control groups.”

4. Dance 

Put on your dancing shoes and dance yourself to better cognitive health. Dancing is a fun way of exercising not only for your body but also your brain. 

The Centre For Disease Control And Prevention (CDC) recommends dancing as an effective and scientifically proven method of exercising your brain. 

The CDC report researchers have found “areas of the brain that control memory and skills such as planning and organising improve by exercise.” 

Researchers at the University of Illinois conducted a study in which older sedentary adults participated in a specially designed Latin ballroom class. Those who participated in the programme reported “improvements in memory, attention,and focus.”

5. Use All Your Senses

Our senses are in constant use, supplying a stream of information that we perceive through:

  • Sight 
  • Sound 
  • Smell
  • Taste
  • Touch. 

And we receive information from these senses simultaneously. 

In a study conducted by Quack et al. titled A Multisensory Perspective Of Working Memory, researchers looked at the way in which multisensory information is maintained in working memory. Quak et al. found  that using all your senses could actually help to strengthen areas of the brain. 

There are a few activities you can do to engage all your senses simultaneously. These include cooking, baking, cleaning and visiting a new restaurant or bar. Anything which may engage all your senses and get them working! 

Exercising your brain can be achieved through a multitude of ways, what may work for you may not work for someone else. Now that we have provided our top five ways of exercising the brain, try them out and start exercising your brain today! 

Sources Cited:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279302/

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/17518420801997007

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3583091/

https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/full/10.1098/rstb.2014.0214

https://www.cdc.gov/features/alzheimers-and-exercise/index.html

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4404829/

Sajal Azam

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