Seven ways to train your brain so it’s stronger and healthier
We all love a New Year’s Resolution. Call us cliché, but whether they work or not, there’s something nice about starting fresh for a new year… and in this case, new decade!
A lot us will put plans in place to improve our physical health in 2020, but what about our brain?
Here are seven ways you can train your brain over the coming year for a healthier, stronger and happier you.
1) Feed your brain
Your brain needs fuel just as much as your body does. There are a few things particularly, that tend to be classed as “superfoods” when it comes to supercharging the brain.
If you’re looking to maximise your memory and boost your brainpower, why not include the following in your diet?
It’s said that the fatty acids in omega-3 can be beneficial to your brain health. Fish is a great source of omega-3 in your diet, particularly those that are considered “fatty fish” such as salmon, tuna and mackerel.
Fruit and veg
Fruit and veg is filled with antioxidants, which help to protect your brain cells from being damaged. This is particularly thought to be the case for green, leafy vegetables – which are considered to help with cognitive abilities.
From cranberries to grapes, berries are thought to be a big brain-booster thanks to their resveratrol properties. In fact, if you love a cheeky glass of wine, some red in moderation may boost blood flow in the brain!
Want to ensure your body and your mind are as healthy as possible? Discover the 10 nutrients all women need.
2) Exercise regularly
Exercising has a plethora of benefits but one that you may not have considered is its brain-boosting capabilities.
Exercising regularly, whether it’s a marathon or merely a brisk walk around the block, increases oxygen in the brain, helps to stimulate neuronal connections and can reduce the risk of many diseases that result in memory decline.
3) Get enough sleep
A reduction in rest and relaxation can have a serious effect on your brain function. Our memory consolidation is affected by sleep, so when we’re not getting enough, it can’t work at its best.
Ramp up your memory to the maximum by turning off your devices an hour or two before bed and aim for the recommended seven to nine hours’ sleep per night. Never underestimate the power of sleep.
4) Play puzzle games
Boosting your brain isn’t all boring. In fact, you can play puzzles, socialise and have a jolly good time while doing it. The part of our brain that is responsible for forming memories is called our hippocampus and prefrontal cortex, which is what we’re flexing every time that we play.
Considering a recent survey showed the top emotions we feel when playing board games are satisfaction (82%), friendliness (81%) and enthusiasm (76%) – it’s a winner all round.
5) Learn an instrument
The more often you use your brain, the more that it can do. Learning a new instrument is not only fun, but it enables you to expose your brain to different ways of thinking and therefore trains it in a new way.
In fact, it’s ideal in the way that it takes you through sections and stages, so you can constantly keep learning and expanding each time you play.
6) Learn a new language
What’s the common thread between learning an instrument and learning a language? Well, learning an instrument is a language. According to many studies, learning multiple languages can contribute to better memory – as well stopping the likes of cognitive decline.
In fact, one study carried out in Swedensuggested that mastering a foreign language can make the cerebral cortex and hippocampus grow in size!
Meditation is a practice which aims to train your attention and awareness, enabling you to achieve a clear, calm and stable state.
It’s hardly surprising then, that the art of shutting out distractions and concentrating your mind is thought to help with your short-term memory, helping to increase your brain’s ability to process information. Give meditation a go and see whether you can focus your mind and expand your memory.
Photo by Clem Onojeghuo