5 Surprising Ways to Keep Your Brain Active
Regardless of age, a healthy mind is just as important as a healthy body. While you may associate brain training with things like advanced calculations, there are a lot of fun ways to exercise your mind. Here are 5 ways to keep your brain active after school.
Learning a Language
One of the most amazing ways you can strengthen your brain is by practicing new languages. This all comes back to the Broca’s center in the left hemisphere of the brain, which is thought to be responsible for languages and communicating. This part of the brain is so flexible, using it can actually help develop other parts of your brain as well. Because of this, learning new languages and stimulating your Broca’s area can help improve your memory, concentration and communication skills. Whether you’re using an app on your phone or traveling the country, this is great training for maintaining a healthy mind.
If you’re really looking for a way to exercise your brain, why not try exercising your body? The health benefits that can come from exercising are virtually limitless, and the brain is not exempt from these benefits. Studies show that exercise in almost any capacity releases positive endorphins in your brain, which can elevate your mood, increase your focus and help sharpen your brain’s overall cognition. One step further, exercise can actually stimulate the production of new brain cells, which can prevent age-related mental decline.
Playing an Instrument
The amazing thing about creating music is how it stimulates almost every section of your brain — when you play an instrument, the areas responsible for processing sound, movement, vision and memory are all being stimulated at once. Not unlike a full-body workout at the gym, playing an instrument is a fantastic way to strengthen your entire brain at once. Don’t have access to an instrument? Don’t worry! Studies have shown that just listening to music has a very similar effect, research has shown that it can positively impact things like blood pressure, anxiety and even physical pain. If you’re looking for something to put you in a better headspace (literally), music may be just the thing you need.
Read a Book
Aside from giving you the enjoyment of exploring countless fantastic worlds, books have a lot to offer in terms of your brain’s health. Researchers have found that reading requires the human brain to use a very large amount of complex circuits and signals; as you read more and improve your reading ability, these networks of communication become even more advanced. Your brain essentially becomes better at reading simply because you’re practicing it. Whenever you’re hanging around with nothing to do, consider picking up a book and giving your brain a well-deserved workout.
For years, research has supported the idea that creative endeavors positively impact the entire body and mind — and for good reason! Whether you’re drawing, painting, sewing, cooking or doing anything else that lights up your creative spark, chances are you’re strengthening your cognitive reserve. Improving cognitive reserve has shown to be effective in reducing memory loss and increasing the brain’s resilience over time. Artistic pursuits of all kinds have also been shown to help with fine motor skills, which can even reduce stiffness and pain in the body as you age.
As long as you keep your brain stimulated, you’re giving it the exercise it needs to keep you sharp and focused for any task at hand. Whenever you have free time, consider trying out a new hobby, delving into your favorite works of literature or simply getting outside and into the fresh air. You’ll be doing your brain a lot of favors, and you’ll likely have a ton of fun in the process.
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