With the CDC reporting millions of Americans living with some kind of cognitive impairment, there’s no better time than now to raise awareness of memory issues. Indeed, many people are interested in how to maintain good brain health throughout the aging process. While things such as diet and exercise can certainly help, so too can exercising the mind. Yes, simple games and exercises, performed on a regular basis, can play a role in increasing brainpower. Programs such as LearningRx utilize different exercises and programs to help with cognition. However, here are five easy mental gymnastics that anyone can perform whenever they have a few extra minutes to spare.
Singing may seem like nothing more than an entertaining diversion, but it has proven cognitive benefits. Just look at how certain folks immediately lose their stutter once they start belting it out. That’s because singing works out the right half of the brain, which can lead to better problem-solving abilities. So, those who take a few minutes a day, in the shower or in the car, to hit a few notes might just find that they are less frustrated throughout the workday.
This is one of the more simple exercises on the list, as all it involves is a person using his or her non-dominant hand to perform common exercises. Whether it’s brushing teeth or throwing a ball, those who take a few minutes to use their other hand for activities will find that it forces greater concentration, which in turn exercises the opposite side of their brain.
Another easy brain workout—at least on paper. By performing a minor and safe daily activity, such as showering, with the eyes closed, it forces the mind to utilize the other senses, thus boosting cognitive ability. The focus here is on “safe activities,” meaning folks shouldn’t try this exercise next time they go drag racing or skeet shooting.
Games that require social involvement are great at increasing brain function. That means eschewing video games alone at home and instead getting the family together for some board games or Pictionary. Playing such games requires multi-tasking and strategizing in a social environment, which helps develop team-building skills as well as strengthen the old mind muscles.
Change up the Routine
The brain doesn’t need stringent tests every day; it mostly just needs a bit of variety. That’s why it’s crucial to make little changes on a daily basis, from preparing foods in different ways to changing the route to work or school every once in a while. Keeping the brain on its toes with changeups like these helps to keep the synapsis firing at full speed.
These are just some things to consider when trying to boost brainpower and maintain a healthy memory. One other proven tactic is to listen to audio books as much as possible. It’s a great way to pass commute times, and it strengthens the listener’s memory by teaching him or her something new during the process.