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Exercise your brain

Learn how to exercise your brain, just like you do your body!

Having great cardiovascular fitness and abs like Sonny Bill doesn’t happen by sitting on the couch and and eating pies. It takes commitment and effort. It’s just the same when it comes to exercising your brain – putting the effort in pays off!


Enhancing your thinking and word skills

  • Read as much as you can. Reading is great basic brain exercise. You can read newspapers, magazines or books but just keep in mind that the more challenging the text is, the more of a workout your brain will get. Like any exercise, start small and work your way up.
  • Increase your vocabulary. Learn new words from a word-a-day calendar or dictionary. This exercises the language portion of your brain.
  • Write something. Writing requires loads of thinking! You can write made-up stories, or write down the things that have happened to you.
  • Learn a new language. Learning a language is like a hack for your brain, opening up all sorts of pathways. This exercises the part of your brain that stores language information, even making you better at speaking your own language.
  • Post-problem solve. Consider the different possibilities of how something in your day could have gone, and explore the consequences. This improves creativity and makes you a better problem solver.

Playing games for better brains

  • Do daily crosswords and puzzles like Sudoku . Simple puzzles like crosswords can help your brain do some basic work. These are easy to fit into your day. You can even find some for free online.
  • Progress to more involved puzzles. Large, complex puzzles give your brain a stronger workout. These can sometimes take several days to a week to finish but they're worth the effort. This doesn't just mean a puzzle in the traditional sense, either. Check out Japanese pocket puzzles for a serious brain teaser.
  • Consider playing chess. Chess is an incredibly strategic as well as a tactical game. Few puzzles surpass chess in working out your brain. Chess is simple to learn and to play.
  • Play video games. Did you know that video games actually make you smarter? Puzzle solving games like Mario, Zelda, Scribblenauts, and Myst are like a good cardio workout for your brain, helping you to become a more creative problem solver, and a faster thinker.

Challenging yourself

  • Switch your dominant hand. Use your left hand if you are right handed, and reverse, to stimulate the parts of your brain that control your muscles.
  • Play a musical instrument or fiddle with a Rubik's cube. Over 100,000 years, the human brain has evolved to tune itself through both making and using tools. By doing things that are similar to using tools, you help to fine tune your brain and keep it humming along nicely. For example, playing the violin, doing the Rubik's cube or building something have things in common with making and using tools. All require the use of gross motor skills, fine motor skills and sequences to operation and identification of things.

Socialising more

  • Talk with people. Have conversations with others about things you or they know about. Talking about politics, religion, and other challenging topics (having real discussions, not just arguments), can be a great basic brain workout.
  • Join an interest group. Join a group or club for people with the same interests as you. This can be a hobby club, a political group, a discussion group, or something similar.. Talking with people with similar interests will get you using your brain and your skills.

Keeping healthy

  • Eat well and exercise. Diet and exercise actually play a role in the health of your brain as well. If you want to keep your brain in peak condition, eat a healthy diet rich in protein and omega 3 fatty acids to keep your brain physically fed. Physical exercise can also keep your body healthy, reducing the chance of stroke and increasing oxygen saturation levels.
  • Play sports. Learn exercises or how to play new games to increase your hand-eye and body coordination. Tai-chi and pinball are both examples of this.
  • Sleep well. Scientists are actually discovering that sleep plays an absolutely vital role in keeping your brain healthy. While you sleep, your body cleans toxins out of your brain (in addition to making repairs). If you want to protect your brain, make sure you get a full night's sleep as regularly as possible.

Taking the time to do nothing

  • Giving your mind some 'downtime' can help improve your mental health and lead to better decision making. Why not try scheduling some time in your diary this week to do nothing (even if it's just for 10 minutes). Maybe a good activity for Friday if the snow eventuates!

Thanks to WikiHow for these tips!

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