Brain Health Exercises

While most people pay attention to their bodies by eating a healthy diet and working out, fewer pay close attention to their brain health. The brain plays an important role in most every life function, from thinking and feeling to moving and even sleeping. There are steps you can take to ensure your brain remains healthy, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. Brain exercises can improve brain functions and help to prevent dementia and other brain-related diseases.

Education

The brain receives a workout whenever you engage in learning activities. Staying involved in school by taking adult education classes or ongoing training in a specific field helps to keep the brain healthy and can actually encourage new brain cell development. Learning new ideas and skills is an ongoing exercise that can reduce memory loss with age and improve overall brain health. The Alzheimer’s Foundation reports that low levels of education are a risk factor in the development of Alzheimer’s disease. The Franklin Institute reports that you must learn brand new skills on a regular basis to keep your brain healthy.

Chess

Chess is a game of strategy that requires the brain to operate on a number of different levels. You must utilize spatial recognition to see all the players on the board as well as think ahead to the consequences of each move. According to Brain Metrix, chess is a game that also can increase intelligent quota, or IQ. The brain stores experience and information from playing the game repeatedly that improves your ability to play. Abstracts and structures inherent in the game increase the brain’s ability to process complex ideas and thoughts. Play with someone who is a better chess player to intensify the brain workout or play chess with a computer module.

Challenges

When people are young, everything is new and the brain is in a kind of mental Olympics, constantly being challenged with new concepts and skill sets that exercise the brain. With age, many skills become rote and do not involve the brain. To step up your brain activity, challenge yourself with simple tasks such as switching hands to work the mouse on your computer. According to the Franklin Institute, the simple act builds brain neurons. Try switching hands when brushing your teeth or working the remote control to keep the brain active. Break other routines by getting dressed with your eyes closed, drive a different route to work or try talking to someone using only visual communication.

About this Author

Linda Ray is an award-winning journalist who\’s spent more than 20 years doing in-depth research and reporting on trends in health care and fitness for newspapers and magazines, including the “Greenville News,” “Success,” “Verve,” and “American City Business Journals.” In addition to sports and alternative therapies, Ray has extensive experience covering banking, commercial development and people. Ray has a bachelor\’s degree in journalism.