5 Brain Exercises To Keep Your Mind and Memory Sharp
Been feeling a bit fuzzy every now and again? We might be able to help you with that!
Keeping your mind active and sharp is crucial to improve memory, focus and daily function, especially as we age.
But it doesn’t have to be a chore, in fact we’ve come up with a bunch of handy and easy activities that can help your mind stay on track!
What actually happens to the brain as we age?
Over time, our brains actually begin to physically shrink.
In fact, from the age of around 40, the volume and mass of the brain starts to decrease by about 5% each decade. This decline also increases for people in their 70s and over.
So what impact does that have on you mentally?
Well, it mostly has an effect on our memory as well as reaction times, attention levels, processing speeds and sometimes sensory or perceptual functions.
But, just like the rest of your body, by keeping the brain active you can help lessen the effects of aging on the brain and help it stay sharper and stronger for longer.
Which brain exercises should I do?
There are a tonne of ways to encourage your brain to be active and remain alert each day, and the best part is it may not take up much time at all.
So whether you prefer to keep things low key and chilled or need a more upbeat and energetic activity, we’ve come up with five top options that may help you.
Play a brain game
Whether you like crosswords, word searches, jigsaw puzzles, scrabble or playing solitaire, these types of “brain games” are a great way to keep your mind focussed and switched on. These activities stimulate the brain and may have long-lasting effects when it comes to your memory. The key here is to switch things up, so if one day you sit down and do a sudoku on your own, maybe try and play a game of chess with a friend another day in the week. This way you keep up the stimulation in the brain by presenting it with different challenges rather than letting it get lazy. Set aside 10 minutes each day in the morning while having breakfast or before you go to bed in the evening to play a brain game too exercise your memory.
Keep up your reading
Reading often is a great way to engage your mind. No matter if you read the morning newspaper, a few chapters from a book or your favourite online blog, all types of reading can help improve memory, concentration and even bring down stress levels. By participating in a stimulating activity like regular reading, you may slow down cognitive decline and keep your mind fresher.
Don’t forget physical activity
A major way to keep your brain switched on and clear is by doing exercise every day. This doesn’t mean you have to become a long distance runner, instead you just need to incorporate physical activity into your daily routine at some capacity. This could include walking, tai chi, yoga, fitness classes, swimming… you name it! Whatever you need to do to get the body moving will benefit your mind by creating more brain cells and helping prevent cognitive decline and memory loss. It can also boost creativity and mental energy as well.
Live Life Get Active has a range of different exercise options for you to choose from, from yoga, pilates, boxing and fitness classes in park and online. See if there’s a park near you here or jump online and check out our wide range of on-demand fitness videos which you can do anywhere anytime or book into our live-stream classes. We suggest trying out Sam’s Legs, Cardio and Core session – it will certainly get your body moving!
Learn something new
If you feel like your current routine isn’t challenging enough on the mind, it may be time to pick up a new skill or hobby. This could include learning new recipes, a musical instrument, a new language or even starting some evening art classes. No matter what you choose, by taking yourself out of your comfort zone, you are challenging your mind and giving it the best chance to stay sharp. By learning something new, not only are you aiding your ability to remember and retrieve information you are also keeping your reasoning and problem solving skills active.
Looking for a new recipe to try? Take a look at the Live Life Get Active healthy and delicious recipes here.
We recommend trying out these healthy berry muffins.
Meditation comes in all different shapes and forms, and is a great way to engage the mind. There is the option of a guided meditation, you could simply listen to music or sit in silence for a few minutes and draw focus to your mind. Whatever you choose, evidence has shown that just like regular exercise, meditation can improve the brain ability to create new cells as we age. As mentioned, this is a key component in keeping the brain sharp and alert, particularly when we get older.
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