Train your brain by navigating a new route and outlook
From the LifeMinute.TV Team
November 6, 2023
National Train Your Brain Day is October 13. Try these strategies to build your mental fitness.
Brain plasticity, the ability of the brain to adapt, change, and rewire itself in response to the stimulation of learning and experience, plays a vital role in cognitive ability. Solve a puzzle, play a card game, or a childhood board game, such as Monopoly, Mastermind, Taboo, or Twister. These activities promote plasticity, improving brain function skills like negotiating, language, deduction, and coordination.
Get Quality Sleep
A good night’s sleep (7-8 hours for most adults) helps strengthen memories you’ve formed throughout the day. It also helps to tie new memories to earlier ones. If you’re not getting a quality night’s sleep before learning, it can reduce your ability to learn by up to 40 percent.
Eating green leafy vegetables, like kale and spinach, is associated with slower age-related mental decline due to their brain-friendly antioxidants like flavonoids and carotenoids. A study found that older adults consuming just about one serving daily had a slower rate of decline versus those who tended to eat little or no greens.
Change the Route
Challenge your mind by choosing a different route or mode of transportation, such as biking or taking the bus or subway instead of driving, to get to work or run errands. The switch-up can enlarge your hippocampus, the region of the brain primarily linked with memory.
One study found meditating for just 13 minutes a day enhanced memory and attention after eight weeks. You can meditate almost anywhere, and it doesn’t require special equipment. If you’re looking for a roadmap, try a podcast to guide you through a practice.
Learn or Teach a New Skill
Discovering a new and challenging skill or teaching someone else a new skill can change the physical structure and connectivity of the brain. By stimulating neurons in your brain, more neural pathways are formed. The more paths formed, the greater your ability to adapt and understand new experiences and information and create new memories.
Regularly engaging in physical activity (dancing counts) can improve cognitive functions like problem-solving and concentration, not to mention enhancing your ability to perform everyday activities and help manage weight.
Being socially engaged may help fend off social isolation and depression, both associated with mental decline later in life. One study found that so-called SuperAgers (people in their 80s) with the mental agility of someone middle-aged seem to have significant levels of positive social activity. Call a friend, host a party, volunteer, or join a club.