Not only is exercise good for your body. Maintaining mental strength through entertaining mental exercises is equally vital. Think of your physical and mental fitness in the same way: you don’t have to be an Olympian to live well, but you do need to maintain a healthy weight. A few cognitive exercises a week can have a significant impact on your life.
The Facts about Mental Exercise
Your muscle strength and endurance both grow when you are physically fit. However, the advantages of mental exercise and brain training might not be as clear.
According to research, cognitive training offers both immediate and long-term advantages, such as:
1. IMPROVED MEMORY
Nineteen math students demonstrated a bigger and more active hippocampus than their counterparts after eight weeks of cognitive training. The hippocampus is linked to memory and learning.
2. REDUCED STRESS LEVELS
Learning becomes less unpleasant labor when new skills are mastered more rapidly. A better memory makes it easier to recall knowledge.
3. IMPROVED WORK PERFORMANCE
A better job can result from learning quickly and remembering important information. Soft skills like trainability and attention to detail are increasingly in demand by employers.
4. DELAYED COGNITIVE DECLINE
We experience cognitive deterioration as we become older. In seniors between the ages of 65 and 94, cognitive training in 10 sessions lasting an hour increased reasoning and information processing speed, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.
Similar to physical exercise, it’s not the particular workout that matters. Cognitive exercises must be simple and enjoyable to be effective over time. Otherwise, giving up would be too simple.
Fun Brain Training Activities for All
The best part of enjoyable mental exercises? There is no requirement to visit a gym. For everyday brain training, feel free to combine and match the following activities:
One of the simplest, most straightforward methods to stimulate your brain? generating answers to problems you are now encountering.
Ask a buddy to join you if you struggle to come up with ideas on your own. I call up my editors to bounce ideas off of when I’m having trouble coming up with themes to write about. Usually, friends or coworkers are delighted to assist.
Is dancing not a physical exercise? Yes, but the coordination it calls for is also excellent for brain training. It’s also a ton of fun.
According to studies, dance improves a variety of cognitive abilities. A few sophisticated stages seem to help with creativity, planning, memorization, organization, and all of the above.
3. LEARNING A NEW LANGUAGE
It need time to learn a new language. It’s simpler than you would imagine if you break it up into short, everyday lessons.
Every lesson in the study of a language builds on the one before it. I utilized a knowledge management program called Guru when I was learning Spanish. To give myself a quick refresher before going on, I would make a new card each time I learned a new verb tense.
4. BOARD GAMES
Even while playing a board game isn’t much of a physical workout, it is a lot of pleasure for the mind. Having said that, not all board games are equally effective for brain training.
Play less complex board games, such as Candy Land. Choose games that emphasize strategy, like Risk or Settlers of Catan. Do not forget to solicit feedback from other gamers.
5. CARD GAMES
Similar to how board games do, card games also help to develop cognitive abilities. However, they have a few extra benefits that merit particular consideration.
From a kitchen to an airplane, a deck of cards is affordable and portable. More crucially, a deck of cards provides access to a wide variety of games. Try to pick up a few in a single afternoon.
Visuospatial function is a special cognitive skill that can be developed with the help of puzzles. Because one of the first skills to falter in patients suffering from cognitive illnesses like Alzheimer’s, visuospatial function is crucial to train.
Pick a puzzle you can finish. It’s acceptable to begin with a 500-piece puzzle or select a puzzle with a silly design.
7. PLAYING MUSIC
A fantastic method to relax is to listen to music. Playing music, though, goes a step farther. It not only amuses you but also stimulates your mind in a delightful way. Once more, pick a musical instrument you’re confident in. If you’ve always wanted to learn the violin, resist the urge to pick up a guitar just because it’s more accessible or less expensive.
What if you are unable to purchase an instrument? Sing. Making good music with strings or keys is difficult, but so is learning to control your voice.
8. DEEP CONVERSATION
Nothing is more intellectually stimulating than a good, extended discussion. The key is depth; superficial talk doesn’t stimulate the mind in the same way that a deliberate, sincere conversation does. This kind of dialogue hone your ability to ponder and think more deeply.
Pick your spouse wisely. You want someone who will disagree with you without becoming aggressive. Coming up with original arguments has importance, but stress is bad for your brain.
When you think about it, cooking calls on a diverse set of mental abilities. A strong memory is necessary for developing a cook’s intuition. It needs careful attention to detail to ensure that flavors are harmonized. The ability to solve problems arises when anything goes wrong in the kitchen. To stir, flip, and whisk requires fine motor control.
Prepare enough food for everyone if you’re planning to cook. Invite them to join you in the kitchen as well because working with other chefs will make this enjoyable mental exercise even more difficult.
Mentorship is a fantastic mental workout, regardless of whether you are the mentee or the mentor. Learning from someone you admire combines the advantages of in-depth discussion with skill-building. You must put yourself in another person’s shoes when you are teaching someone else, which calls for empathy and problem-solving abilities.