When most people think about fitness, they consider either gaining muscle mass and becoming stronger or losing fat and getting ripped. Both of these physical attributes are appealing as humans all want to look more attractive and have better options when it comes to mates. However, we are all missing out on one of the most important parts of our body: our brain!
These days people are using their brain in order to achieve more than their body. Minus a few professional athletes, bodybuilders, and laborers, most people are doing jobs that require them to think more clearly, remember facts and figures, and concentrate on a particular task. People who are looking for a way to improve themselves can not only visit the gym but also take their brain health into account.
This article will focus on a few different ways that you can give your brain a workout. These will not only make you more intelligent and focused in the short-term, but it will also help you to maintain your memory and cognitive performance long into your old age.
7 Important Ways to Workout Your Brain
If you have ever seen someone playing Sudoku, it is a relatively simple game that requires players to do mental calculations quickly and fill in the empty spaces. This is usually a little bit harder than doing a crossword puzzle, and because it is challenging, it helps the brain to continue making connections.
The game Sudoku is specifically useful for improving memory formation and learning the ability. The game forces memory and logic to work side by side, which stimulates the brain. Not only does that help you in the near term, but can also help to keep neurological connections active and reduce your chances of developing Alzheimer’s disease later in life.
Surprise, surprise! Doing something for your body is good for your brain as well. The reason running is so helpful is because it helps to release chemicals in the brain called endorphins. These chemicals are helpful for improving mood, but they also have a benefit for focus and concentration as well.
One study showed that aerobic exercise increases the neuron reserves in the part of the brain called the hippocampus, which is most responsible for learning and memory formation. Obviously, this has both long and short term implications!
#3: Foreign languages
Language is a somewhat innate part of the human experience and brain. Over millions of years, humans have developed languages to communicate with one another in very complex ways. Learning a foreign language if you are not a native speaker will force your brain to utilize parts it hasn’t used since it was much younger.
You don’t necessarily need to move to a new country and immerse yourself in a language just to get these benefits. Far from it, you can just use a free language app like Duolingo for 10 minutes a day and get the benefits that way.
#4: Learn an instrument
In the same way that learning a foreign language will challenge regions of your brain you thought were dormant, learning a new instrument can do the same. Language centers of the brain are auditory and quite different from other regions, which means learning an instrument can make a really big difference.
Similar to the language learning, you don’t have to become a professional rock star! Just play something that you enjoy a little bit each day, and it will keep your brain fresh.
#5: Cambridge Brain Sciences
The University of Cambridge is one of the most prestigious colleges in the world, and they have spent adequate time researching and understanding the brain to know which tests are best. Instead of recommending a bunch of tests, the experts and scientists decided to make their own, which can be found online at their website.
The series of exams can help you to not only improve your brain health through a good workout but can also enhance your tracking ability when you change lifestyle factors. For example, if you are planning to use supplements to improve brain health, Cambridge Brain Sciences provide the tests to see whether it is making much of a difference. Speaking of…
Another way of giving your brain a workout is by using smart drugs, which are also referred to as nootropics. These drugs are useful for enhancing memory formation, learning, and even creativity. Like supplements for building muscle, the nootropics can give you a boost that allows you to perform better.
However, the benefit of taking nootropics is that you can usually do more work and maintain learning and concentration for longer. That means more working out your brain, which leads to more results. If you are just getting started, try to combine caffeine with L-theanine or seek drugs like piracetam.
#7: Optical illusions
If you have ever looked at an optical illusion long enough, you might have realized that your eyes can get fuzzy and even start having a headache. These are both symptoms that you are working your brain a bit too hard, but a little bit every once in awhile is going to make a big difference in the long run.
The optic nerve, which connects the eyes (and eyesight) to the brain, can get weakened just like anything else. This is one of the reasons people start to lose their eyesight in old age, and it has to do with both the eyes and the brain. The more you can work out your brain, the better off you will be in the long run for both your vision and overall cognitive performance.
The Brain-Body Connection
The great thing about your brain is how connected it is to all other parts of your body. While you might workout your legs on one day, your upper body gets a rest. However, with the brain, you are always getting a workout and benefit. Just going to the gym or doing a job can help the health of your brain no matter what it is that you do.
Adding brain training and specific workout tasks to promote better memory, learning, concentration and long-term brain health are even more powerful and rare, but doing so can have profound effects.