Tuesday, March 20, 2018

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Seven Brain Exercises that Can Boost Memory

Written by  Laura Neff-Henderson, APR

As we age, our brain’s ability to withstand the natural neurological damage that occurs lessens and can make it more difficult to perform seemingly simple mental tasks. 

Brain exercises can help strengthen the neural connections in the brain by challenging our working memory and mental agility. In combination with a healthy lifestyle that includes a nutrients-rich diet, getting plenty of sleep, and physical exercising, some researchers believe brain exercises (also referred to as brain training) can strengthen our mental ability.

Find a few minutes to fit these seven brain exercises into your schedule to boost your memory and flex your mental muscles.

  1. Brush your teeth with your non-dominant hand: Research has shown that using the opposite side of your brain can result in a rapid and substantial expansion of in the parts of the cortex that control and process tactile information from the hand. Don't forget to open the tube and apply toothpaste in reverse, too.
  2. Test your recall: Make a list – grocery items, daily tasks, or anything else that comes to mind – and memorize it. An hour or so later, see how many items you can recall. Make items on the list as challenging as possible for the most benefit.
  3. Do the math… in your head: Figure out how much you can save at the grocery store with coupons and sale items without help from a pencil and paper or your phone calculator. Make it even harder by walking up and down the aisle at the same time.
  4. Challenge your taste buds: Choose a cuisine unfamiliar to you for dinner tonight. Pick up the ingredients and make it at home, or visit a local restaurant to try something new. While you eat your meal, take time to identify each of the­­­ smells and tastes.
  5. Play a game: Playing a game, like Chess or Sudoku, makes you to think several steps ahead to your next move. The planning and strategizing component of games requires focus and self-control.
  6. Learn something new: Take up a new hobby that involves fine-motor skills or learn a foreign language. Knitting, drawing and painting are all good ways to refine your hand-eye abilities and the listening and hearing involved in learning a foreign language stimulates the brain.
  7. Hit the gym: Exercise affects the brain

Did you know? A rich vocabulary has been linked to a reduced risk for cognitive decline.