By Michael Lawrence Green
With the new year right around the corner, it’s time to start considering some of the things that you can do to improve your memory and brain health. Many of us aspire to new exercise regimes and diets, but how many of us actually implement exercises to improve our memory and brain health? Not many of us. Make the new year different and memorable.
Below are some simple (minimal time usage) exercises that you can implement that will help your memory and brain health.
1) Use your non-dominant hand. If you’re right-handed, use your left hand to eat, comb your hair, brush your teeth, write your name, or try putting your mouse pad on the other side of the keyboard. This practice of non-dominant hand use stimulates communication between the two hemispheres of the brain, helping to improve mental capacity as well as physical balance. Another idea: tai chi and yoga are physical activities that coach people to use the right and left side of the body equally.
2) Do things with your eyes closed (besides sleep). Doing things with your eyes closed forces your brain to depend on other senses (sound, taste, touch, etc.) to make decisions. This stimulates your brain to increase the sensitivity of those other senses and processes. Getting dressed, eating, walking, are all things that we take for granted with our site. Take it away and they become entirely new experiences and opportunities to improve your memory and brain health.
3) Expand Your Vocabulary (Learn a New Word Every Day). Learning a new word exercises the language portion of your brain. It doesn’t take much time to learn a new word. Just use the following steps: 1) Find a word; 2) Read the meaining; 3) Write it down; 4) Say it aloud; 5) Use it in a sentence; 6) Attempt to use it in a conversation; and 7) Share it with friends. Be creative and try to use your newly learned words in as many ways as possible. You can even involve your family in the process. You’re brain will thank you, your family will thank you, and you’ll sound much more intelligent. Click here for a link to an online dictionary.
4) Work on Your Balance. Research completed by the University of Washington found that those with the best balance were three times less likely to develop dementia. It’s normal for our balance to decline as we get into our 40s. Changes in our strength and equilibrium make it more difficult to maintain our balance. There are many activities that can improve balance like yoga and tai chi. Even practicing balancing on one leg for 30 seconds at a time can make a difference. Click here for additional balancing exercises.
5) Do Push-ups. Recent studies have shown that resistance and endurance training improves people’s brain health and memory. The push-up is one of the most basic resistance exercises that you can do. Push-ups can be done fairly quickly and don’t require special equipment or space. Renowned neurologist, Dr. Majid Fotuhi, believes push-ups are the most important step to strengthening your “brain muscles” and preventing Alzheimer’s. Doing five to seven pushups per day helps stimulate blood flow to your brain and generate new brain cells which helps you avoid cognitive (brain related) diseases. Click here for instructions on proper push-up form.
Kick off the new year by implementing some of these activities and you’ll feel a boost in your memory and brain health sooner than you think!
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