Every New Year brings a chance to reflect on the past and set goals for the future. This year, why not include a stronger, healthier brain among your top goals for an enriched life?
Relax. This goal is not as daunting as it may seem. There are several creative, easy ways to keep your brain fit beyond endless Sudoku and crossword puzzles. Consider the following six tips a starting point.
1) Exercise. Even moderate amounts of regular exercise will increase the amount of oxygen to your brain, and with that, your mental sharpness. Whether you are swimming, walking the dog, hiking or dancing, exercising a minimum of 30 minutes three to five days a week will do your body –and mind – a world of good.
2) Eat well. Feed your brain with a diet heavy on fruits and vegetables – particularly antioxidant-rich dark, leafy greens, legumes, nuts, beans and whole grains, and light on processed foods, white sugar, saturated fats, caffeine and alcohol. Further, don’t overlook the power of a well-balanced breakfast to give your brain a boost for the rest of the day.
3) Read. Read widely, read often – books, magazines, newspapers. The benefits of reading are not limited to those reading Nietzche or Aristotle. Quality reading materials of any kind can train your brain to absorb information, exercise your cognitive skills, improve memory and increase your vocabulary.
4) Make music. Making music unleashes your creativity and improves your ability to concentrate. Further, a Stanford University School of Medicine research team found that musical training improves how the brain processes information, particularly the spoken word. So dust off that old flute or trumpet, or challenge yourself by learning a new instrument.
5) Travel. When you travel to a new destination, everything is fresh and unfamiliar. This means you have to think a bit harder than usual as you expose your brain to new surroundings and figure out how to get from Point A to Point B. Even going for a leisurely drive over the weekend will have a positive effect on brain fitness, so get out of your rut today!
6) Learn a new skill. There are numerous courses you can take or workshops you can attend on any subject of interest – French, vegan cooking, auto mechanics, etc. The more you learn, the more you mold and stimulate your brain. As an added mental bonus, learning new skills with other people can build the social network needed to reduce stress and keep your brain engaged.
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How are you doing with your New Years Resolutions? Share your thoughts in the Comments section below.
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