When we envision what it means to take care of our body, we immediately think of eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly. While these are essential for physical health —what about the health of our complex brain? In the past, people mistakenly thought the brain was something we couldn’t influence. However, research has proven that the inherent flexibility of the brain means that we can create new neurons and lay down new pathways as the result of training and exercising it. Here are 7 easy tricks on how to improve brain health and keep your brain power in tip-top condition!
1. “I Like To Move It! Move It!”
It’s no surprise that the number one way to keep your brain fit, is to keep your body fit. Exercise is great for your heart, weight and overall health, but it also increases oxygen to your brain, fires up the motor cortex, improves coordination & can make you smarter! Exercises that involved all 4 limbs in multiple planes of movement will give you the most brain boosting benefit. Plus exercise affects the nervous system and sets off pleasure chemicals such as serotonin and dopamine that combat stress & help us feel relaxed and happier. So get smart and get moving!
2. Fuel Up
When it comes to your diet there are no magic foods that will make you a genius overnight; however, certain foods do help the brain function better. Studies have shown that fish is great for your body and brain, due to the high quality of protein and wide variety of vitamins and minerals, especially fish rich in Omega 3 oils. For a non-fish option take fish or flaxseed oil in liquid or capsule form. These rich sources of fatty acids that are vital for your body & brains overall health, plus flaxseed oil has direct beneficial effect on brain chemistry, development, and functioning. Vitamin B12 is a brain booster as well and is found in eggs, dairy, meat or vegan alternatives such as fermented foods –pickles, sauerkraut or miso. Rule of thumb: Eat a variety of natural, healthy foods of a wide array of colors.
3. H20 is the way to go
One of the most important and often overlooked brain boosters is to stay hydrated. This means drinking plenty of water throughout the day. Other liquids such as milk, soda, coffee, juice or tea are not a substitute for pure water. Our brains depend on proper hydration to function optimally. Brain cells rely on chemistry & balance between water and various elements to function. If that balance is disrupted your brain cells lose efficiency. Water is a perfect conductor of electricity necessary for the brain neurons to fire. This electrical potential of brain chemistry must be present for “thoughts” to take place. No wonder a symptom of dehydration is mental confusion! So for optimal brain function, drink a big glass of water every morning and several more throughout your day. Keep brain fog at bay!
4. Tap into Your Inner Wisdom:
Meditation is a practice that is growing worldwide. If you meditate regularly, then you know firsthand that even a short meditation in the morning has the power to improve the way you experience your whole day. Not only will you feel more peaceful and relaxed, you’ll also be more alert, positive, and focused. Meditation is also associated with increased attention and concentration. Mediation allows your subconscious brain the opportunity to create, solve problems, & tap into your intuition without the conscious ‘thinking’ brain being in command. Meditation is about letting go.
5. Give the Play by Play
I always envied my brother who is a phenomenal storyteller. He can fashion an image with unbelievable detail and description. Creating and retelling stories helps recall the important details and will also help you retain the information easier. Besides from being a great attribute storytelling can also be used to find common ground with others and is a great icebreaker. Another way to improve your storytelling and exercise your brain is to journal stories. The act of writing engages another sensory modality to cement the details and enhance recall. Writing is also a great way to get the creative juices flowing through the brain.
6. Practice Makes Perfect
“If you don’t use it, you’ll lose it.” Have you noticed that if you use a calculator all the time your ability to do mental calculations slips? Practicing simple math is one of the easiest tricks to keeping your brain sharp. Not only will practicing simple math keeps the neurons firing in the left hemisphere, it also reinforces problem solving, helps with higher-order thinking and even boosts your self confidence. There are many popular brain challenging math games online or in printed form that will help keep your brain tuned up.
7. Say What?
Read something unique or bizarre! This trick will not only help your brainpower but it will also increase your vocabulary. Learning 1 new word every 3 days will increase your vocabulary by 170-200 words a year. Reading an article, book, or even a sentence that is strange, puzzling or out of the ordinary from your everyday reading will increase your brain activity and expand your frame of mind. Order our WAGs Wrist Support Gym Gloves to help with hand and wrist pain.
There are many online resources for brain stimulating exercises, but here’s one to get you started: http://www.sharpbrains.com/teasers/