19 Extraordinary Brain and Memory Exercises from a Neurobiologist and a Geriatric Expert

Brain exercises are meant not only to improve your mood, but also to improve your memory and help your brain maintain its cognitive abilities as much as possible. Here are some brain exercises recommended by Dr. Lawrence Katz, a neurobiologist, and John Morley, a geriatric expert:

Keep your brain healthy by adopting a healthy lifestyle and stimulating your brain with new and constructive activities. Brain exercises are meant not only to improve your mood but also to stimulate your brain and help keep your cognitive abilities. Also, mental exercises increase your ability to concentrate, stimulate your intelligence, creativity, memory, mental flexibility. To keep your brain and memory as good as possible in the long run, avoid boredom, avoid routine, avoid sedentary and passive activities such as watching TV for hours every day, avoid eating high-fat and cholesterol-free fat.

 

Instead, opt for a diet based on high quality vegetables, fruits, antioxidants, seeds, meat and protein. Pay attention to the things around you, allow the brain to learn new things and never let it become passive because the passivity of the brain also leads to its atrophy. Below, we present some simple but excellent brain exercises recommended by a neurobiologist and geriatric expert:

 

Dr. Lawrence Katz, an internationally recognized neurobiologist and researcher in neural regeneration, and author of “Keep Your Brain Alive: 83 Neurobic Exercises to Help Prevent Memory Loss and Increase Mental Fitness,” thinks mental decline is not so challenging much of the loss of brain cells, how much loss of communication between brain cells. This is due to the decrease in the number and complexity of the dendrites, the branched neurons projections. But with the right mental exercises, we can develop new dentric connections.

Because most brain exercises are visual based, the neurobiologist argues that good mental exercises should engage all senses: sight, sound, touch, taste and smell – in new ways that do not rely on routine.

In fact, the researcher believes that any activity can turn into a good exercise for the brain, as long as it has the following qualities:

– it’s new

– It’s fun

– Stimulates the brain

Here are some of Dr. Katz’s mental exercises presented by biologist and researcher Deane Alban in an article published on bebrainfit.com:

♦ Change your hands. If you are right handed, try using your left hand to do daily activities like toothbrushing, eating or using the mousse. And vice versa: if left, use your right hand. Using non-dominant hands increases brain activity. At first you will not be able to do this exercise easily, but as you make it your brain will be required.

♦ Try to eat Chinese chopsticks as it will force you to pay attention to what you eat, which is beneficial for the brain as well as for digestion and for calories. If you already do this with dexterity, the difficulty of the exercise increases. When you eat with Chinese chopsticks, eat with non-dominant hand.

♦ Do certain activities (attention, non-dangerous !!) with eyes closed. Take a shower, wash your hair or sort the laundry under your breath, trying to keep your eyes closed, so you will force your brain to use new neural pathways.

♦ Do things a little different by turning them upside down or inverting them. No, do not be afraid, you do not have to do not know what bizarre activities. Here is an easy exercise: wear the clock upside down and try to read it. This will force you to read the clock really. You can also hang wall clocks, photos with your loved ones or calendars on the wall upside down, forcing them to see / read as they are. When you get used to this exercise, you can practice it with your phone. You can practice writing in the mirror.

♦ Do with sharing with your life partner (or with a friend, your child, etc.) and listen / read a book out loud. This exercise stimulates imagination in a different way. Research in imaging showed that three distinct brain areas illuminate when the same word is read, spoken, or heard at the same time.

♦ Choose new routes. On the way we do it daily, the brain works like an autopilot and does not get much stimulation. Getting on an unfamiliar path activates the cortex and the hippocampus. It is said that Bill Gates used to drive home from the office by choosing another route each day to stimulate his brain. It does not seem like a bad idea, is it?

♦ Among the activities that test all our senses in new ways, Dr. Katz suggests traveling, camping and gardening, but also buying food from the market or from farms where you can look, touch, smell and taste the product.

♦ Try to memorize your friends’ phone numbers.

♦ Put a cup of coins on the bed next to you or in your pocket. Without looking at them, try to pull out one by one, tapping them and guessing what the currency is.

♦ Make use of traditional means of guidance in the face of technology. Close your GPS and try reading a map and use your innate sense of direction to get to your destination.

♦ Meditate. Meditation is extraordinarily beneficial to our brains and is among the best and most challenging brain exercises. Our brains are like machines that emit non-stop thoughts, up to 70,000 every day, and 95% of these thoughts are the same day and night. To train your mind to make peace requires training and is not easy at all. Meditation reduces stress, improves memory, increases learning abilities, concentration and attention, and prevents brain atrophy.

♦ Change the place at the table. In most families, everyone has their place at the table. In order to stimulate the brain, we can try to change the place and thus get the new and challenging experience for the brain: you will occupy someone else’s position, you have to deal with someone next to you (other than usual), you will have another perspective on the room, you should do otherwise than usual to get salt and pepper.

Here are some exercises recommended by John E. Morley, Director of the Geriatric Medicine Division at St. Louis University. Louis and author of “The Science of Staying Young” in an article published on www.everydayhealth.com.

♦ After you’ve returned home from a new place you’ve visited, try drawing a map of that area; repeat the exercise every time you visit a new place.

♦ Creates images based on words. Imagine writing a word, then trying to think of other words that begin (or end) with the first (last) 2 letters of the original word.

♦ Learn to cook / cooking courses. Try to cook dishes from a new kitchen that is not familiar to you. Cooking involves several senses: smell, touch, sight and taste, thus involving different parts of the brain.

♦ Do exercises of math in your mind. Try to count the head, without the pencil or paper, without the help of the computer. If you want to increase the degree of difficulty, do this exercise as you walk / run :).

♦ Test your memory. Make a shopping list, a list of things you have to do or anything else that goes through your mind and try to memorize it. An hour later, try to see some of the things on the list you remember. For greater mental stimulation, make a list as exciting and challenging to be memorized.

♦ Learn and practice a new sport or physical activity that you can do with pleasure. You can choose those that train both mind and body like yoga, golf or tennis.

♦ John E. Morley also recommends simple games like Sudoku, integrations, crosswords, comics, or learning a new language, but also activities or hobbies involving fine motor skills (knit, crochet, painting, drawing, assembling a puzzle etc.).

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