A widely held belief used to be that the brain lost cells as it got older, accelerating its decline. Now it’s known that people can acquire new brain cells throughout their lives, provided their brains are stimulated.
Specialists agree that exercising your brain is a good thing and say you can train your brain just like your body, and there’s scientific evidence showing that training your brain improves its capability.
Recent research suggests that everything from absentmindedness to arithmetic skills can be improved by playing certain intelligence and memory-stimulating activities. Scientists and neuro-experts believe puzzles that rely on problem-solving, memory and logical deduction can be highly beneficial for the brain by making people approach tasks in a more flexible way.
Why bother? Well people are living longer, but their memories are not keeping up with their longevity, now how sad is that?
By engaging in some daily brain exercise you may be able to boost your IQ by a point or two and grow new brain cells; here are some examples of suggested methods to exercise the brain.
Low-tech brain workouts: Solve puzzles, Riddles, crosswords, sudoku and Scrabble are all reported to greatly improve brain function and memory, and decrease mental decline.
Get plenty of sleep: Aim to get eight to nine hours of sleep regularly. Being awake for 21 hours straight decreases your mental agility to that of someone who has been drinking.
Don’t skip breakfast: Those who miss breakfast have far lower levels of concentration. For best results, eat within an hour of waking up and choose food high in fibre, protein and carbohydrate.
Get plenty of exercise: Physical activities are proven to improve abstract thinking and concentration, promoting the growth of brain cells.
Learn another language: Language learning provides a great mental workout, forcing your brain to switch tracks constantly. It also helps tone the frontal lobes, which decline with age.
Break your routine: Breaking at least two habitual actions a day keeps your brain active. Try altering your route to work or using your “wrong” hand for your mouse.
Eat well: Scientists recommend sunflower seeds, dark berries, unrefined grain foods (brown rice, pasta and wholemeal bread), oily fish and minimal amounts of caffeine.
Drink plenty of water: Aim for eight glasses every day – dehydration can affect concentration levels.