The concept of “strengthening the brain ” may seem abstract and difficult to understand. But, we forget that the brain is a muscle like all the other muscles in our body. And like them, the brain needs regular workouts to stay fit and healthy.
Why Strengthen the Brain?
Researchers and scientists are all excited to try to find ways to prevent cognitive decline. This decrease usually occurs when the neural pathways in the brain remain unused and eventually deteriorate. This decomposition, combined with aging, can contribute to the development of diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s. In other words, when it comes to the brain, if you don’t use it, you lose it.
Exercising the brain regularly helps in the formation of new neural pathways and connections between synapses. Regular use of these pathways helps prevent their deterioration. Here are some ways to keep your brain active.
1. Challenge Yourself:
There are lots of puzzles and hobbies out there that you can choose from. These can range from crosswords to Sudoku, riddles, or even Trivial. Just make sure that whatever you do, the level of difficulty has to be where you really have to think before reaching a solution. If you solve the activity easily, try to find a version with an advanced level of difficulty.
2. Exercise Regularly:
Here is an example in which the mind-body balance comes into play. Your physical and mental states are united. Daily physical exercise requires the use of motor skills and develops coordination between the hand and the eye. Both tasks require that your brain be in control of your body’s actions.
3. Learn Something New:
Finding a new hobby or skill can help form new synaptic connections as your brain learns new things. Learn to play an instrument or learn a new language. Force your brain to do things you are not used to. This is the key to forming new paths and associations in your brain.
Your mind is constantly working, thinking about lists of things to do, logistics and stress and anxiety management. Spread time each day to clear your mind. You can practice simple meditation or try yoga poses and breathing exercises.
“If you find yourself unable to concentrate on a task, meditating for some time can help you return to it with more focus”.
5. Get Enough Sleep:
By this we mean a good quality dream! Each sleep cycle contributes in some way to learning and memory development. When you cannot sleep, your ability to concentrate and pay attention is compromised. This makes it harder to acquire new information and retain it in your memory. During the sleep cycle, the neural connections that form our memories are consolidated. In other words, the better the quality of sleep, the better you can retain the information and retrieve it when necessary.
6. Eat More Omega-3:
Omega-3 fatty acids appear to be important for memory and overall brain performance. It can have a protective effect on brain function, which means it can help prevent a certain level of cognitive impairment. Omega-3-rich foods include:
- Fatty fish such as salmon and tuna
- Flax seeds
- Green leafy vegetables
- Pumpkin seeds
7. Be Social:
Studies have shown that the more social it is, the slower the rate of memory decline. Although the mechanics are not clear, researchers have found that being more socially active can mean great news for your memory.
8. Avoid Excess Alcohol:
A glass of red wine a day is known to be beneficial, but more than that may not be the wisest decision to make. Excessive and prolonged alcohol consumption has been linked to severe and persistent brain damage. Most alcoholics suffer from a thiamine deficiency, which is an essential nutrient for brain function.
9. Join a Reading Group:
Yes, reading alone also stimulates the mind, but a reading group makes you responsible. In the era of smartphones and tablets, you may find it difficult to pick up a novel and stick with it. With an organized reading group, you are more likely to expand your usual reading list and be more sociable. Questions are an important aspect of reading groups. This means that your analytical and memory skills are exercised more thoroughly compared to a scenario in which you take a book on your own, finish it (if you ever do) and move on. When it comes to the human body, one could argue that the brain is one of its most precious assets. Avoid deteriorating with regular activity.