You know you can flex your muscles to make a difference in your body’s fitness, but did you know that you can exercise your mental muscles and gain a better memory and more brain power?
When you flex your mental muscles by performing various memory loss exercises, the brain creates new pathways in the brain. Some brain and memory loss exercises and activities can effectively work the brain in five main cognitive area functions. If you can perform these exercises on a daily basis, you can train your mind to become fit and active and your memory recall will increase.
The brain contains the following areas of cognitive recognition:
Language – This part of our brains is devoted to remembering, understanding and being able to identify words. You can challenge this area of your brain by practicing new languages, increasing your grammatical skills and increasing your vocabulary.
Attention Span – It’s difficult to focus on something if you’re a multi-tasker. Noises and other distractions can also inhibit your ability to focus your attention. You can help your attention span part of your brain by changing the way you do things. Changing your route to work or any type of routine can awaken your brain and help it pay attention when needed.
Memories – As we age, the memory area of your brain can deteriorate. Sometimes, that’s because of dementia or Alzheimer’s, but most often we simply need to increase our cognitive activities. That includes mental calculations, reasoning powers and reading to remember. Games you play such as crossword puzzles can boost a chemical in your brain called “acetylcholine” which boosts your brain memory skills.
Executive Function – The part of your brain known as the executive function performs the tasks of helping your logic and reasoning powers. Executive functioning helps you develop strategies to reach goals and other major decisions in your life. Video games are great stimulation for this area of your brain and social interaction can also help.
Visual-Spatial Skills – Since we live in a three-dimensional world, filled with color and visuals, we must be able to analyze them in order to function without our various environments. Visual-spatial skills are developed by observing what you see in front of your eyes and within your peripheral vision. To develop these skills, look at a picture, turn it over and then write down every object you saw in the picture. It’s a good exercise to help you focus on what’s around you.
Just as you would exercise all your body muscle to gain overall fitness – so you need to stimulate these five areas of the brain to remain mentally sharp and active as you age.
Flex Your Mental Muscles!
You must exercise your brain just as you would your body for the ultimate fitness and function. Research has proven that regular brain stimulation can keep the brain active and healthy far into later years – a great piece of news for our aging population who are worried about memory loss.
The way the brain works properly is to create new neural pathways which can connect with the stored information. When stimulated, the brain tends to create new pathways to a sort of savings account in the brain, where knowledge is stored and retrieved through the pathways.
When people maintain brain function by exercising the brain throughout their lives, a higher level of brain functioning is found. We depend on our brains to remember people’s names and faces and even the most minimal things such as where we put our reading glasses.
There are many ways you can keep your brain active and vital well into your later years. Here are a few that you may want to try:
Mnemonic devices – The use of mnemonic devices such as puzzles that involve both numbers (Sudoku) and words (crossword puzzles) can stimulate the memory portion of your brain and are fun to do.
Brain tricks – Some studies show that you can trick your brain into remembering things. Chewing gum while you study is one way – moving your eyes back and forth when trying to memorize is another.
Focus on one thing at a time – Unfortunately, multi-tasking has become prevalent in our super-busy society, but studies show you’re much more apt to remember things if you focus on one task at a time.
Speak aloud – When you say aloud what you’re attempting to remember something. For example, after you’re introduced to a person, repeat his or her name as you’re shaking hands.
Chunking – The art of chunking involves grouping things or numbers together so you remember them better. For example, if you have trouble remembering your driver’s license number, break it down into two or three number at a time.
Acronyms – Use this mnemonic device when you need to remember large amounts of information. For example, the word, HOMES can be an acronym for the Great Lakes – Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie and Superior – or make up your own. Ingredients in a recipe can be remembered by making up an acronym such as, B-R-O-C-H for the ingredients: Beans, Rotel, Olives, Chili powder and Hominy to make chili.
The brain is a perfect example of the old saying, “If you don’t use it, you lose it.” Learn something new each day and focus on every task to ensure that your brain keeps busy making new pathways and connections for your memory.