Anti-gravity yoga, aqua cycling, trampoline training – there are more and more ways to pump your muscles, endurance and flexibility. But have you thought about such a thing as mind fitness, and the need to train your brain? The most important organ also needs regular exercise. Mind fitness is a set of measures to improve a person’s cognitive abilities, slow down brain aging, improve memory and concentration. In other words, what is absolutely necessary for a modern person. This type of fitness is not directly related to sports. Today, we’ll look at seven ways to upgrade your cognitive skills that don’t require a gym or special equipment to help you with better health.
Get out of your comfort zone
When you make the brain adapt to new conditions, look for new ways to solve problems, you develop such a cognitive property as neuroplasticity – the ability of the brain to change under the influence of external conditions, create new neural connections and restore old ones.
Start training your brain today and take a couple of small steps away from your comfort zone – come up with an unusual combination of things from the wardrobe that you haven’t tried to wear before, instead of watching the series before going to bed, watch a couple of TED TALKS, prepare a new dish, walk to work.
Make friends with stress
Stress is not always harmful to the body . Small doses of adrenaline and cortisol help us quickly navigate the situation and make decisions. Stress stimulates our brain to develop new and innovative solutions and serves as a good training for the mind.
When we find ourselves in a non-standard situation, the brain needs a pause to think it over and make a decision: imagine that you went into the elevator with a person who needs a floor lower than yours. You still need time to find the right button, although you have been using this elevator for several years now.
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Learn songs and verses by heart
At school, the homework “learn verse by Tuesday” was hardly delightful and a desire to begin the task as soon as possible. But this does not mean that learning texts by heart is boring and uninteresting. Just choose the works that you like, find poets whose work is close to you, learn your favorite songs – ideally in a foreign language. Start learning one small work a week, and after a couple of months you will notice that it’s better to remember passwords, names and other information that you usually easily forget.
Meet new people
An active social life is not only wide opportunities for creating new relationships, broadening one’s horizons and a way to improve the quality of life, but also a difficult training for the mind. Talking with new people, you make the brain quickly process and memorize a large amount of new information, create and strengthen associations, develop memory and train self-control. And the more versatile your social circle is, the better. Meet people of different professions and hobbies, develop your brain and expand your circle of interests.
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When you learn a dance, not only the body, but also the brain works: in contrast to the mechanical repetition of exercises in the gym, dance is a creative process during which you need to memorize ligaments, invent movements and use several types of memory at once. While dancing, you train your body to the maximum – both its physical functions in the form of fitness such as stretching, flexibility, muscle tone, vestibular apparatus, and cognitive ones.
Collect jigsaw puzzles
Puzzles are an affordable way to spend free time alone or in a company with benefit and pleasure. In order to assemble these puzzles, you do not need gadgets – ideal for digital detox and a soothing way to pump your brain. When you collect pictures from tiny fragments, you train visual memory and concentration, as well as meditate and relax.
Scientific puzzles prove that puzzles are a great way to pump your brain. In one experiment, 100 people spent five weeks every day collecting jigsaw puzzles. As a result, it was proved that this type of activity really enhances brain health and prevents the risk of developing neurocognitive disorders.
Play mind games
If you do not play intellectual quizzes, you can add training for the brain in the game format using applications. Brain-training games are available for any gadget and turn your phone or tablet into a brain fitness simulator, which is always at hand.
In one study, a group of 51 people trained their brain for three weeks 15 minutes a day using the Lumosity application , which allows you to develop memory, attention, reaction speed and other cognitive functions in a playful way. Compared to another group that did not use the game, this one showed impressive progress in all cognitive parameters, including improving visual memory and increasing concentration. So download a similar application (Lumosity, by the way, is free) and instead of scrolling through the social media feed or looking at city landscapes outside the transport window, take a few minutes to your brain.
If you monitor your athletic form and pay attention to the diet – this is already something taken for granted, then we think about regular brain training much less often. In fact, to maintain your own brain in good shape, you do not need to spend several hours a week doing exhausting exercises. To engage in brain finess regularly, simply add a couple of new habits to your life. Learn your favorite songs by heart, dance, pump up communication skills and go to familiar places in unusual ways – and your brain will always be in great shape.