Monday, July 02, 2007

15 Ways to Keep Your Brain in Shape

These are 15 fun ideas that will increase your brain activity. It has been proven that the more exercise you give your brain the more it will grow and operate to new super levels. Are you striving to be more intelligent, more creative? Here’s a great platform on how you can achieve your goals.

15 Extra Ways to Keep Your Brain In Shape

“If you nurture your mind, body and spirit, your time will expand. You will gain a new perspective that will allow you to accomplish much more.”

- Brian Koslow

It’s simple, your brain is at the center of everything you do, all you feel and think, and every nuance of how you relate to people. It’s both the supercomputer that runs your complex life and the tender organ that houses your soul. So it is very important

to focus on keeping your brain in shape.

By regularly engaging in the right activities, you can increase your memory, improve your problem-solving skills and boost your creativity. Here are some extra tips on how to keep your brain in top nick.

1. Just stop.

“Take 20-30 minutes out of your day to think about nothing. But don’t sleep – you’ve got to meditate. Sit still, reduce sensory input, and try to focus your mind on something like a calm scene or a color (to begin with thinking about something rather than trying to think of ‘nothing’ is easier). A study at the University of Kentucky revealed that subjects who took a late-afternoon test after meditating for 30 minutes had better scores than those who napped for the same time.”

2. Hit the streets.

“Lace up your running shoes and get moving. A study from the University of Illinois, US, revealed that aerobic exercise actually increases brain volume. They put two groups through different regimens - one did aerobic training three times weekly for one hour; the other group did just stretching and toning exercise. The aerobics group had increased their brain volume and white matter, which forms the connections between neurons.”

3. Mix it up.

“Exercise has long been hailed as an aid to brain-power longevity. But to ensure you’re not leaving the gas on in your eighties, vary your workout routines now. Try changing things up on a regular basis and you’ll stimulate your brain more because you’re not using the same pathway over and over again.”

4. Read a book.

“Choose from classic literature, science fiction or personal development books and give your brain a boost. Pick up a novel before your next flight or vacation. On top of the cerebral benefits, the escapism that comes from reading can be very relaxing. Reading helps you exercise your cognitive skills and increase your vocabulary. Do it regularly and you’ll be amazed at the information you absorb, which will make you a more interesting conversationalist.”

5. One-cup-manship.

“Swilling coffee could be the perfect accompaniment to the cryptic crossword. Austrian researchers measuring brain activity found short-term memory and concentration improved after consuming 100mg of caffeine - equal to an Americano. But after 40 minutes those guinea pigs were back to the dumbness levels of a twice-a-day Deal Or No Deal viewer.”

6. Engage in a debate.

A lively discussion can be invigorating. As long as you avoid letting it digress into an argument, you can have a lot of fun debating the pros and cons of an issue with a friend or colleague. Playing with your brain stimulates blood flow and strengthens the connections (synapses) between nerve cells in the brain. You’ll practice your quick thinking skills, logic and creativity. And developing convincing theories on the spot will help you in your career and in your personal relationships.

7. Grab the Brainbox 360 controller.

“Believe it or not, playing certain video games can actually be good for your health. You’ll develop stronger visual skills and make decisions 85% faster than non-gamers, say experts from the University of Rochester, New York. Gamers can read the newspaper, recognize a scene or pick out facial features faster in between fragging killer aliens.”

8. Subscribe to a daily newsletter.

“Make the most out of your web surfing. Whether it’s a “word of the day,” “quote of the day” or “this day in history” newsletter, receiving new information each day will add data to the hard drive in your head. The mental stimulation will increase your comprehension skills. The additional knowledge will also make you sound more worldly and intelligent.”

9. Curry favours.

“Tuck into a Ruby Murray tonight to clear the mental cobwebs. Scientists from University of California discovered that curcumin – a yellow-coloured compound found in the curry spice turmeric can slow the onset of memory loss. Small doses of curry could also help protect the brain against Alzheimer’s disease - at least that’s the effect in rats. Curries with a yellow tinge will have the highest curcumin count.”

10. Grab a cue and play pool.

“Rack ‘em up, grab a cue and concentrate on your strategy. Billiard players must focus on the immediate, blocking out distractions as they plan their next moves. Strategic planning increases mental clarity. Concentrating on the immediate helps keep your mind sharp. Furthermore, this game of angles demands that players think in terms of physics, something most of us rarely do in our everyday lives. And it’s a brilliant way to pass the time.”

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