8 ways to Exercise your Brain
You go to the gym to train your muscles. You run outside or go for hikes to train your endurance. Maybe you do neither of those, but still wish you exercised more.
Well, here are some tips how to train one of the most important parts of your body: your brain. So how do you train your brain to learn faster and remember more?
Boost your memory
The practice of both remembering events or things and then discussing them with others has actually been supported by brain fitness studies. Memory activities that engage all levels of brain operation—receiving, remembering, and thinking—help to improve the function of the brain. Now, you may not have dancers to correct, but you may be required to give feedback on a presentation, or your friends may ask you what interesting things you saw at the museum. These are great opportunities to train your brain by flexing your memory muscles.
Don’t get too Stuck to TV
Not surprisingly, those who watched TV or Internet-based broadcasts the most (four hours or more a day) also had the lowest mental acuity scores. Compounding television’s mind-rot effect, a study from Iowa State University found that students who watched more than two hours of TV a day were up to twice as likely to be diagnosed with some form of attention disorder, such as ADHD, due to the amount of rapid-fire stimuli the brain is typically overloaded with during television viewing.
Leading an active lifestyle helps to keep the tissues in your brain every bit as young and active as those throughout the rest of your body. In fact, regular physical activity seems to help slow or even reverse the brain’s physical decay over time. Scientists at the University of Illinois have proven exercise’s prowess at keeping the brain healthy.
When researchers at the University of Michigan tested the IQs of 172 men—some of whom smoked regularly and some who didn’t—they found that the smokers scored lower on the tests across the board. According to their finding, years of tobacco use appears to dull mental performance, dimming the speed and accuracy of a person’s overall thinking ability. A more recent study conducted at Tel Aviv University confirms the finding.
Learn Something New
By actually doing something new over and over again, your brain wires new pathways that help you do this new thing better and faster. Think back to when you were three years old. You surely were strong enough to hold a knife and a fork just fine. Yet, when you were eating all by yourself, you were creating a mess. It was not a matter of strength, you see. It was a matter of cultivating more and better neural pathways that would help you eat by yourself just like an adult does. And guess what? With enough repetition, you made that happen!
Drink lots of Water
Working up a sweat for just 90 minutes can dehydrate your body enough to cause your brain to shrink away from the sides of your skull—the equivalent of a year and a half’s worth of aging and abuse. That’s the warning from a 2009 U.K. study in which teens worked out in varying levels of sweat-inducing clothing; when they were then asked to play video games following the workout, brain scans showed their brains had to work much harder, and actions that would have been completed fairly easily took significantly more brain work to complete.
Put your Knowledge into Action
Now that you know how to train your brain, it’s actually time to start doing. Don’t just consume this content and then go on with your life as if nothing has changed. Put this knowledge into action and become smarter than ever.
Even ten to fifteen minutes of meditation appears to have significantly positive effects on cognition, relaxation, and psychological health, and it has been shown to reduce smoking and binge-drinking behaviour. There’s even solid evidence that meditating before taking a test will significantly improve your score.