While it may be common knowledge that you need to exercise your body to stay in shape, did you know it is also important to exercise your mind? We've all heard the phrase “use it or lose it.” Turns out it’s true. Although there is no definitive proof that these mind exercises can make you smarter, researchers believe that they can help your brain stay sharp, strong, and healthy. Just as working out with weights can help you add lean muscle mass to your body, research shows that regularly doing brain exercises is imperative. Get your mind muscles moving with these 5 easy exercises.
1. Socialize More
This may sound too good to be true, but it is not just a silly suggestion. Conversating is actually the most common way you can exercise your mind. Whether it’s discussing your favorite show with coworkers or catching up with friends, socializing can engage multiple areas of the brain. Playing a sport, working on a project with a group, or volunteering are also excellent ways to socialize.
2. Puzzle Play
Take it back to the basics when it comes to brain games. Instead of reaching for the latest app, try your hand at crossword puzzles or word searches. From the proper word choice to deciding which move to make next, these games require problem-solving skills that challenge the brain to consider a variety of options and come up with a solution. That thinking process is the perfect exercise to engage the brain. Ready to take it to the next level? Sudoku’s number placement puzzle system can become highly addictive and push your mind to work your concentration and short-term memory to plan as you follow a numerical trail of consequences to complete each section.
3. Channel Your Inner Chef
Cooking or preparing a meal is a fantastic way to expand and exercise the mind. Try taking a local cooking class with a friend or introduce a new cuisine at home with an updated recipe. Cooking uses almost all of the senses with ease: smell, sight, touch, and taste. Each sense involves a different part of the brain and requires your focus and attention to be done well. Pay attention and savor each part of the experience. You could even combine cooking and conversation by inviting friends and family over for a feast! Extra points if you can remember the grocery list when you step out to pick up the ingredients.
4. Take Time to Read
Amidst a world of tablets and smartphones, the joy of reading has escaped some. However, reading is an incredible way to exercise the mind. Reading a book stimulates our brains to analyze words, consider sentence structure, and understand storyline. It also stimulates our imagination as our mind creates mental images to more easily connect to the story and full grasp it. Short on time? Consider short stories, poetry, blog posts, or articles that peak your interest.
5. Try Something New
Taking the time to learn something or try a new experience is extremely beneficial. The options are limitless when it comes to this exercise. You can learn a new language, pick up a hobby, or try doing a “word of the day” challenge to boost your vocabulary. This does take dedication and time commitment, but the benefits of lifelong learning are key. From knitting and painting to learning a new card game or soaking up brief historical facts of the next place you’re visiting for vacation, there is always so much to learn and so many ways to grow.
There are so many ways to vamp up your mental exercise routine, including taking care of your body with proper nutrition, plenty of rest, and regular exercise. By incorporating physical and mental workouts, you will surely stay in tip top shape. These exercises offer simple and effective ways to engage your brain. Try them out and let us know how you’ve exercised your mind in the comments below.
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