Once you reach the age of 40, your brain starts to progressively decline. Around the end of this decade is when your brain performance reaches its peak before dropping off. Although researchers previously thought that this decline was inevitable, new studies show that brain training can actually stave off mental decline.
Learning to Rewire the Mind
At the University of Texas at Dallas, researchers gave 50 to 70 year-old individuals brain training for 12 weeks. MRI scans at the beginning and end of this time period showed that new structural connections were created in the mind’s information, learning and communication centers. Additionally, the study showed that learning how to exercise your brain and actually doing it increased blood flow and boosted mental activity. Overall, an increase of eight percent in blood flow in the mind was linked to a more youthful brain and better cognitive performance. When the researchers followed up a year afterward, the mental gains were still present.
Boost Your Vocabulary
If you lack a team of researchers, you can still enjoy some of the same brain training benefits of this study. One of the first steps in learning how to exercise your brain is through vocabulary. Language games and vocabulary help your mind to remember and organize words. You can try to just memorize words, use a brain training game or read about an unfamiliar subject.
How to Exercise Your Brain: Engage Your Memory
For an added mental boost, try challenging your memory to a test. If you are stuck on a bus or in line, an easy way to do this is to try multiplying or dividing a difficult number in your mind. You can also try to memorize a poem, learn a new song or practice a new language.
The Location Game
One of the easiest memory games to do is the location game. Look around the room you are in and pick out three or more items in the room. Close your eyes and see if you can remember exactly where the items are. In a few hours, try out recalling all of the items again and see if you can remember where everything was.
Games are not just for children anymore. Playing a game is actually a great way for you to boost your brain functioning. Video games, checkers, chess and strategic board games help you to train your mind. Ideally, you want to find a challenging game that forces you to create a strategy. By doing this, you improve the reasoning abilities and logic skills that you need to make decisions. If you do not have anyone to play chess with, you can always try signing up for a brain training game like Brain Revitalizer.
If you want to learn how to exercise your brain, mindfulness meditation is one of the first things that you can try out. Meditation has been shown to improve your mental functioning and lower stress levels. In addition, mindfulness meditation helps to increase the various neural pathways in your mind.