When all is said and done, you want to have peace of mind, a mind as sharp as a knife, and a good chunk of money in your retirement account.
Yes, you may of money as the most important asset you will have as the years progress, but we believe that having your memories crystal clear, being able to string together sensible sentences, and being able to make important decisions on your own is more important.
We’ve all seen what happens to the seniors whose mental state is nothing like it was in their 50s losing everything they had either because of natural old age or illnesses, and it is a painful sight. This is why we believe that if there is something you must work really hard to protect and maintain, it must be your brain function.
You want to remember events that changed your life decades letter, you need your mind to work best for you to boost your productivity, and you need a healthy brain to enjoy life.
Life is fleeting, and whether you die at 30, 50, or 90, the best that you could hope for is a brain that still works well.To ensure that your brain function is at its best throughout your breathing days, there are things you must do.
If you are worried about declining brain function, either because of your family’s history of dementia, schizophrenia, or any other disorder, or you just want your brain to be a sharp as a whistle just because, then the recommendations in this article could offer the insights you need.
The tips to help you keep your brain active and healthy
Engage in Mental Exercises to Prevent Mental Decline
Complex and new activities are great brain exercises when it comes to the improvement of your focus, memory, as well as your mood.
But before we look at some of the things you could do to keep your memory sharp, you need to remember that the fitness of your body calls for varied and regular exercises for flexibility, strength, balance, and you also need to engage in aerobic exercises for your lungs and the brain.
Like the rest of your body, your brain feeds off exercises that target the brain. These brain exercises fend off any chance of mental decline, while also enhancing your mental performance.
Great mental exercises are, therefore, designed for them to allow you to perform the different complex tasks with little effort, you won’t have to worry about brain-draining processes for decision making, meaning that you can complete most brain tasks with little stimulation.
In addition to stress reduction, improved focus/ concentration, positive mood, a boost in productivity, intelligence, self-confidence, as well as a peak in your mental flexibility, the right exercises will also increase your reaction times while making your hearing and vision sharper. These benefits often result from engaging in neurobic brain exercises.
The neurobic exercises or neurobics refer to the brain exercises designed to enhance overall brain function, thanks to their ability to engage all 5 senses in novel/ new ways.
In other words, the neurobics are designed to enhance communication between the brain cells.
The reason for this is that the biggest reason for declining mental function doesn’t result from the actual loss of brain cells but from the loss of important communication between the cells, which is further caused by the decrease in the complexity and the number of dendrites.
Dendrites are the nerve cell (neurons) branches, and they are invaluable in the communication between the neurons and for good mental function.
With the right set of brain exercises, you get to strengthen the dendrites’ connections and increase (grow) the number of dendrites through neurobics. Note that for the neurobic exercises, it’s recommended that you engage all your senses – smell, touch, sight, touch sound, and taste.
Best Neurobic Exercises
It might not be the easiest trick in the books, but you could improve your brain function significantly by switching hands regularly. Let your dominant hand rest occasionally, for example, when eating, brushing your teeth, cleaning, or even using the mouse.
Eating with chopsticks
Besides being a great exercise that works your motor skills, eating with chopsticks also forces you to eat slowly and mindfully – this is great for your digestion, calorie consumption, and brain function.
Chores with the eyes closed
As long as you are not cooking or anywhere near a fire or electrical hazard, you could shower with your eyes closed, sort laundry, or wash your hair. These tasks force the brain to use and create new neural pathways. You also need to stay away from sharp objects.
Reading Books out aloud
Alone or with your significant other/ friend/ child around, read a book out loud. You could also listen to audiobooks if the loud reading doesn’t work for you.
This may not sound like a genius idea, but it has immense benefits on the brain in that it allows engagement with your imagination in a unique way. Studies show that three areas of the brain light up when a word is spoken, heard, or read.
Do things backward or upside down
We are not suggesting that you do the headstand on the first day, but you could try other things backward or upside down. For example, you could wear your watch upside down – forcing the brain to think/ work hard every time you glance at the watch. You could also set your phone so that it has an upside-down configuration.
Take a new route to work/ home
Each day on your commute; your brain goes on autopilot because there is nothing really new on that road, and with little stimulation, your hippocampus and the cortex are dormant. However, these areas of the brain light up when you try new routes, whether you are riding in public transportation, driving, walking, or biking.
Always Engage all Your Senses
This might be something you do every day, but you may not be as engaged as you should be because you are on autopilot or with thousands of thoughts in your brain.
It’s a simple exercise, though: the next time you go out to shop for groceries at the farmers market, taste, touch, sniff, and appreciate all the colors of produce. You should also engage with the farmers to learn more about the foods and for extra brain stimulation.
For the healthiest brain, you must engage in physical exercise often. Physical exercises offer the following benefits:
- The exercises boost circulation to your brain, which means more nutrients and oxygen to the brain and the subsequent elimination of metabolic wastes.
- Exercise initiates the release of the feel-good hormones, dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine, while also reducing the build-up of the stress hormone.
- The other benefit of exercise is that it activates the gene responsible for sending signals to initiate the synthesis of the brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). BDNF is the protein responsible for the stimulation of new brain cell formation. What this means is that physical exercise is an essential part of neurobics.
- If you spend as little as 30-minutes working out daily, you will improve your brain’s plasticity – the ability of the brain to grow and change in your lifetime.
- The other benefit of physical exercise to the brain is the increase in mental energy since the exercises encourage the formation of new mitochondria. Mitochondria refer to the millions of tiny powerhouses in all body cells.
The other benefits include:
- An improvement in your IQ
- You will pay attention more
- You will be less anxious, and your susceptibility to stress-related depression will reduce
- Exercises also make you happier
- It results in improved libido and self-esteem
- You will have more energy to get through your days
Meditation is the next best brain drug with its benefits extolled by leading sites/ institutions such as the National Institute of Health, Harvard, as well as Mayo Clinic. Meditation is like a pushup for the brain since it trains the mind to focus and be quiet.
With over 60,000 thoughts running through the brain, meditation could be the only thing that slows you down. Note that in addition to making you more mindful by slowing things in the brain, the other benefits of meditation included improved attention and focus, better learning ability, enhancement of memory, stress reduction, and it could also reverse brain atrophy.
Other ways to keep your brain healthy include
- Nourishing the body through eating the right foods
- Engage in learning throughout your life
- Pick a creative hobby
- Make new and diverse social connections
- Turn off and reduce your reliance on technology