Brain-boosting exercises have become popular lately, particularly among older adults hoping to prevent age-related memory loss.

That’s why we did some digging to see which, if any, cognitive training interventions actually work.

What are Brain-Boosting Exercises?

Brain-boosting exercises can take many forms. From smartphone apps and computer games to learning a new skill, basically any new experience that ties your physical senses – sight, sound, smell, touch, and taste – to an emotional response can stimulate the connections between different areas of your brain causing nerve cells to produce more nutrients. These experiences make nerve cells stronger, which plays a vital part in resisting the effects of aging.

If you’re an older adult concerned about cognitive decline, senior living communities in Florida are renowned for keeping active seniors engaged in activities that stimulate the mind and body, including neurobic exercises designed to improve memory.

The Science Behind Brain Exercise

There are literally hundreds of brain-boosting activities claiming significant results. In fact, scientists did a study to see if any programs on the market have any real cognitive benefits. The findings, published in Neuropsychology Review, showed several have potential to enhance brain health! In particular, when exercises are focused on improving the brain’s processing speed, they can result in healthier brain aging.

Your brain is the ultimate problem solver. As your mind works to put the pieces together, it goes through neuroplastic changes. The brain actually changes as it figures things out, and new neuropathways are formed. The new neuropathways help you process information beyond what the original exercise focused on, simultaneously increasing function in more than one area of your brain.

Brain-Boosting Exercises That Really Work

We could all benefit from a sharper, more accurate memory, and brain-boosting exercises that generate neuroplastic changes are the best type to see the results you want.

Digital applications like BrainHQ and Cognifit focus on improving the brain’s processing speed, which is why, scientists explain, they are so effective.

If digital exercise isn’t your cup of tea, there are other more organic ways to exercise your brain and form new neuropathways.

Learn a new skill

Doing the same activities over and over won’t stimulate your brain. If you’ve always wanted to try a new hobby, go for it. The possibilities are endless: from learning a new instrument to learning a new language, it’s never too late to learn a new skill.

Put pen to paper

Some of the best brain exercises are those that force you to make mind-to-hand connections such as crossword puzzles and word search games. If you’re looking for some, you’ll find the Brain Awareness Week website has several to choose from, including this free puzzle packet!

Explore new places

From airboat tours in the Everglades National Park to learning about the cosmos at the Kennedy Space Center to sampling peach wine, there are so many activities in Florida that you won’t have to look hard to find your next adventure.

Draw a map

Can you draw a map of your city from memory? Try it out. Be specific and draw the signs, street lights, traffic lights, and landmarks along the way. Once your map is complete, get out and see how you did. Tapping into these little details will boost brain health.

Exercise your body

Numerous studies show that the prefrontal cortex and medial temporal cortex (the parts of the brain that control memory and thinking) have greater volume in people who exercise. Commit to a brisk, hour-long walk twice a week, for example, to support brain health.

Eat well

Eating a well-balanced diet is essential for all aspects of health, and our brains thrive when we eat healthy food.

So which ones work the best? The latest science points to activities that help form new neuropathways in the brain. Virtually any activity that challenges the brain to rewire will have a positive effect.


Sources:

    1. https://bit.ly/2kHdKn1
    2. https://bit.ly/2Q2hhau
    3. https://bit.ly/2vRxUhC
    4. https://bit.ly/2vhZx4H

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