Introduction to Brain Exercises:
Brain exercise is the collective name given to all activities that make the brain work, in one way or another, to enhance* its abilities and performance. They are used by people of all ages, either to enhance* their brain or to maintain its existing performance. In any case, training your brain requires focused effort in most cases but is worth it for a number of reasons:
Benefits of Brain Exercises
- Improve* Your Thinking and Word Skills – Brain exercises often involve a lot of reading which cultivates healthy thinking and reasoning, and also enhances* your vocabulary. This enables you to express your thoughts in a better way.
- Challenge Your Brain – when you give your brain regular challenges that it successfully accomplishes, it enhances* the brains thinking capability permanently so you can deal with unexpected tasks efficiently.
- Socialize Actively – brain exercises, because they cover popular social aspects such as arts, literature, books, and music, enable you to socialize with other effortlessly. A simple example is that when someone reads a lot of books, be the fiction or non-fiction, they are able to engage in richer, more interesting conversations, even with people they have met for the first time.
- Engage Yourself in Learning for Lifelong – With the brain enhancement that comes as a result of brain exercise, your brain actually begins to enjoy the process of learning new things, simply because it is easier than before.
- Have Healthy Lifestyle – A healthy brain means a better IQ and understanding of life, which means that you will naturally adopt those habits which lead to a higher standard of living.
How to Exercise Your Brain?
- Read as much as you can: This is the simplest possible brain exercise you can try. It is a good idea to start with reading everything and anything you can get your hands on – newspapers, books, magazines, journals and so on – but as you progress, try to go for text that is challenging and thought provoking.
- Increase* Your Vocabulary: To develop the part of your brain that handles languages, you can adopt the simple practice of adding new words to your vocabulary through a dictionary or from word-a-day calendars.
- Write Something: Writing takes up a lot of thought process in your brain. Creating meaningful and stylish sentences which go together to create paragraphs that convey your thoughts and emotions requires a lot of processing on part of your brain which cultivates your language handling capabilities and creative skills. You can keep a diary, write fiction or even author useful guides about a skill you have.
- Learn a New Language: Learning a new language can be compared to unlocking new parts of your brain. Besides learning the language itself, it flexes the linguistic portion of your brain and enhances* your vocal capability, even in your native language.
- Post-Problem Solve: Another low effort brain exercise is to run brain simulations for various problems that you have encountered and tackled during the day. Trying out alternate solutions and evaluating their outcomes in your head will both your creativity and your problem solving capabilities.
- Turn off the Television: There is a reason why watching television is so relaxing – it puts ideas in your head that are not formulated and created by your brain. Essentially, it deters critical thought and analysis which causes the brain to stagnate. This is why, for an active and healthy mind, television should be switched off. If you must watch something, then go for education programs or television shows that have complex story lines and rich narratives that encourage you to use your mind to figure out what happens next. Try to assess the relationship between various characters and potential outcomes to give your mind a challenge instead of just watching like zombie.
- Switch Your Dominant Hand: In order to enhance* your brain’s muscle handling capabilities, try to become ambidextrous i.e. able to perform tasks with both hands. If your right hand is good at something, try performing the same task with your left hand e.g. playing tennis, shooting darts, using your cellphone etc.
- Play Musical Instrument: Playing a music instrument requires a lot of coordination between your hands, eyes and brain. Remembering the notes and combining them into a melody makes use of your fine and gross motor skills and identification of various instrumental parts quickly. Go for instruments such as violins or guitars that require serious effort to learn and perform with.
- Fiddle with Rubik’s Cube: A Rubik’s cube puzzle is also similar to using a tool which means it also employs motor skills and identification and retention of its various parts. As in the case of music instruments, this will be a tough exercise to tune your brain.
- Talk with People: Having stimulating and challenging discussions with people about topics such as politics, science, religion and philosophy can be a great way to flex your brain. You will definitely enhance* your knowledge too. Keep in mind that the focus is on discussion, not arguments.
- Join an Interesting Group: You may also consider joining a group to discuss your interest such as a hobby club, political group, religious discussion group etc. When you discuss your interests with likeminded individuals, it enhances* your brains expressive abilities.
- Go back to school: You can get your brain out of stagnation by resuming your education at any stage of your life. This doesn’t mean starting the pursuit of a proper degree – taking short courses to enhance* your professional skills will be quite enough to set the gears in motion.
- Take Free Classes: You can also take free online classes and lectures to enhance* your knowledge and learning ability – top notch universities such as Harvard and MIT offer plenty of free online video lectures that can be taken in the form of complete modular courses, Khan Academy teaches a diverse range of topics for free as well.
- Use Skills you have Already Gained Frequently: When you teach your brain a new skill, don’t stop at that. Keep using it routinely to make sure that it stays polished and ready for use whenever required. Think of it this way, once you develop a muscular physique, you need to maintain it – in the same way, a brain ability needs to be maintained in order to keep it in tip top form. Letting it go after a will cause the brain to forget it.
Additional Tips for Exercising Your Brain
- Eat Well and Exercise: A diet rich in Omega 3 type fatty acids and protein can provide physical nutrition to your brain to ensure that it is able to meet challenges head on. Exercise keeps your body healthy and raises the levels of oxygen saturation which ensures that you are fit and motivated enough to keep train your brain.
- Play Sports: Sports that require body and hand-eye coordination are a great way to promote your brain health e.g. pinball and tai-chi.
- Sleep Well: Researches have revealed that sleep is vital for keeping your brain physically healthy – it removes* harmful toxins from the brain and allows the body to carry out repairs if necessary.
- Change up Your Routine: Monotony in life is a sure shot way to lead to brain stagnation which is why you should vary your routine at random and mix up various tasks in order to prevent your life from becoming dull and unstimulating.
Once you realize that your brain needs to be exercised and challenged in order to stay healthy, you will discover that with a small amount of focused effort, you will be able to shape your whole lifestyle into a brain enhancing* regimen without altering it completely. You can go about your usual tasks while also exercising your brain at the same time!