Mind Exercises to Keep the Brain Sharp as You Age

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The brain, just like any part of the body, somewhat goes through a certain degree of deterioration as the years pass by. And just like any part of the body, it needs to be taken care of so that the negative effects of aging can be minimized and mitigated.

Here are some effective ways to keep your brain sharp regardless of your age:

1. Work on jigsaw puzzles

Several studies have discussed the benefits on the brain of working on jigsaw puzzles. Cognitive impairment is most likely to occur as people grow older and engaging in activities that require multiple cognitive abilities helps decrease the decline rate to a minimum.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re working on a 1,000-piece Mona Lisa replica or a 100-piece Mickey Mouse puzzle, it’s a great way to exercise your brains.

2. Play with cards

A study in 2015 about different mentally stimulating adult activities says that a game of cards leads to greater brain volume in several of the brain’s regions.

The same study also claims that playing card games, like the bridge, solitaire, poker, crazy eights, and even magic card tricks, can help improve a person’s critical thinking and memory.

3. Add to your vocabulary

Not only does a rich vocabulary make you sound really sophisticated and intelligent but it also provides some great brain stimulation.

Don’t believe us? Try doing this every day for two weeks:

  • Keep a notebook handy.
  • Write down one unfamiliar word every day and look up its definition.
  • Then use that word at least five times the following day.

You’ll be surprised at how fast your brain picks up and processes information.

4. Move your body to the beat

Dance, unknown to many, is a great way of improving one’s cognitive functions. It’s not only a great physical exercise but it’s also a very effective brain activity enhancer.

Learning new moves, memorizing routines, and processing how your body executes a particular choreography help speed up how the brain processes and translates information and keep memory sharp.

5. Engage in activities that utilize all your senses

All of the things that our different senses pick up are relayed to and processed in the brain. Visual, auditory, olfactory, touch, and oral information that our body picks up all go to and through it.

Doing things that engage all five senses helps keep the brain continually processing. For instance, if you go to a farmer’s market, there is an abundance of information and details that our senses pick up. The aroma of the different items sold, the different textures of vegetables and fruits that you touch, the visual treat that greets you, the different sounds heard throughout the market, and the taste of different food items all pound at you and give your brain enough information to keep it active.

6. Pick up a new skill or teach someone a new skill

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Both learning a new skill and teaching others something have certain brain benefits that help minimize cognitive impairment brought about by aging.

Study shows that picking up a new skill improves memory function in adults and strengthens connections in their brains. Teaching others a new skill actually provides one a greater understanding of the particular skill being taught as the brain processes information in new ways.

7. Do things differently to break the monotony

If you’re used to doing everything systematically as someone can set their clock based on your routine, you might want to consider doing things differently to break the monotony.

For instance, if you’re a real estate agent and you’re doing the same things over and over again week in and week out, think of disrupting your routine from time to time. Look for affordable houses for sale or potential clients from places you don’t normally go to. Check out a neighborhood you wouldn’t normally consider.

The challenges, albeit minor, that disrupting your routine brings can help keep you on your toes.

8. Have time for meditation and reflection

Meditating and reflecting helps relieve stress, slow breathing, and calm the body. While meditation and reflection are typically associated with inner peace and mental health, they are also highly-functional when it comes to improving brain activity. It helps fine-tune the memory and enhances one’s mind to think clearly and process things better.

This is why most mental health experts recommend that people should find time daily for meditation and reflection, whether it’s to start your day or to end it. Having that time to detoxify, in a sense, your brain helps keep it fresh and sharp.

No matter what age you are, taking care of your brain should also be one of your health priorities, not just your body. What do you do to keep your memory, focus, and concentration sharp? Share them with us in the comments section below and let’s talk about its different benefits.

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