Have you ever heard of brain plasticity? This is the process by which our brains learn and change. Our brains literally have the ability to reorganize and alter themselves on the microscopic level, altering our synaptic pathways in often beneficial ways. This can occur naturally throughout our lives, and it can also happen as the result of certain health conditions, medications, or training and learning. It’s pretty fascinating stuff, but the important takeaway for us as individuals is that we can make use of this neuroplasticity to ensure that our brains develop in positive ways. One of the best ways to do this is through brain training! Now, there are a few different methods of training our gray matter. It could involve mental exercises, games, physical exercise, or practicing skills.
Let’s get into it!
This is perhaps the simplest way of training our brains, and it could involve small challenges that involve our problem-solving skills or using computerized applications that we can partake in regularly. The important thing, as scholar Dr. John N. Morris says, is to ensure that there’s a wide variety of exercises to ensure that there is always some level of challenge. He says, “embracing a new activity that also forces you to think and learn [as well as] requires ongoing practice can be one of the best ways to keep the brain healthy”. This could involve learning a new language or even something as simple as meditating. Learning a new language and meditation are both excellent for improving cognitive functioning, but the best way is to find the type of mental exercise that seems interesting to you!
Another great way to train the old brain is through gaming. You hear that, Mom? Board games have been proven to not only improve cognitive functioning but also reduce the risk of mental decline and even dementia. Games like chess ensure that our minds are working in unusual and lateral ways, enhancing the way we can see things from other people’s perspectives. These games are different every time we play them due to the human factor, which makes them ideal forms of brain training as they require constant learning, thinking, and practice!
If there weren’t already enough reasons to get out there and exercise, science has also proven that working out can help improve our cognitive abilities! It works by stimulating physiological changes that can improve the growth of blood vessels in the brain, make brain cells more abundant and healthy, and reduce inflammation. This can lead to better memory, improved thinking, and even less stress, especially when applied to forms of exercise that require us to use our minds, such as climbing, which has been proven to improve working memory. Climbing is not only a great physical workout, but it’s also a fantastic mental workout!
So, we can work out our bodies, do mental challenges, and even play games to improve our cognitive abilities, but one thing that’s especially useful when it comes to brain training is making sure that we’re doing these things regularly by practicing. This type of mental improvement can happen gradually over a long time, so ensuring that we’re choosing methods that we can do all the time is essential! One great way to train our brains is by learning a musical instrument. People who play musical instruments throughout their lives fare better mentally as they grow older on almost every cognitive measure! And the great thing about it is that we can see how we’re progressing as we go.
Let’s Train That Brain
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