The adult human brain has approximately 86 billion neurons. This neural network is responsible for sending electrical impulses that sovereign our every action. It is imperative that we take care of our minds, regardless of our age. In order to live a fulfilling life, our minds need to be equipped with more than just proper nutrition. Our brain is a muscle, and the only way for it to stay in shape is to exercise it. Here is a list of activities to help you get started/continue your brain strengthening journey!
Learn New Things:
It’s important to be a lifelong learner because it provides numerous benefits. Not only does it help you add skills to your repertoire, but it also exercises the four lobes of your brain (frontal lobe, parietal lobe, occipital lobe, and temporal lobe). When you take online courses or learn new skills, the frontal lobe is being exercised (it is responsible for concentration). The parietal lobe is being activated as you interpret the words you are reading from a book or listening from a lecture/video/speaker. The occipital lobe(in charge of perception) is stimulated as you take in the visuals of a paper, a person, or a video. The temporal lobe (specifically the hippocampus region) is working when you commit what you learned to long term memory. If you are learning a skill such as knitting or playing an instrument, the cerebellum is at work. Below is a list of free online resources to continue your learning journey during these difficult times.
Coursera: Database of courses from universities, companies, and museums
edX: Database of courses from universities all around the world
Khan Academy: Videos and exercises on a wide variety of academic topics
Academic Earth: Courses in a wide array of educational topics
Alison: Database of courses in education, lifestyle, mental health, and more
Listen to Music:
Humans have a deep-rooted emotional connection to music. An individual’s favorite childhood song can still bring them joy even when they become 80 years old. Listening to music helps strengthen multiple areas of the brain. Neurons grow (neurogenesis) in the hippocampus region of the brain while listening to music (this is one of the first areas of the brain to get affected by Alzheimer’s). Tempos and rhythms are processed in the temporal lobes of the brain and are strengthened when we listen to music. Additionally the Wernicke’s Area (the section of the brain that comprehends oral language) is activated while we listen to music. Music is beneficial for both mental and emotional health overall. It’s there for us no matter what we are going through and this can be seen clearly in Alzheimer’s patients. When individuals with Alzheimer’s listen to music, they display a miniscule amount of movement and facial expression. This reaction can stay up to 10 minutes! Great places to listen to music include your radio, Youtube, Spotify, iTunes, and Amazon Music.
Chess is the most ingenious mind game ever created. It’s a game purely based on strategy and skill. When you play chess, the dendrite(responsible for relaying signals between neurons) count increases in your brain. This allows your mind to have a greater capacity for storing, transfering, and remembering information which helps protect your brain health over time. Additionally, chess stimulates both hemispheres of your brain. The left hemisphere is activated when you are analyzing patterns and the right hemisphere is activated when you are creating strategies and tactics to beat your opponent. Below are a couple of online platforms where you can play chess.
Here’s a list of other fun activities that you can do to protect your brain health!
Brain stimulation is only one part of preserving your brain health. A proper diet and adequate exercise are required for your overall well being. By trying the activities above, you’ll notice a drastic change in your cognitive abilities within six months. Our brains are with us for our entire lifetime, we need to treat it right.