Daily Exercises to Increase Brain Power

Keep your mind sharp with these daily practices

Credit: Flickr /incurable_hippie

Flickr /incurable_hippie

New mentally stimulating activities can challenge your brain in new ways

Repeating the same activities can be mind-numbing. Challenge your brain’s processing skills with these tips

Improving your brainpower is just one of the many benefits of adopting a healthy lifestyle. Research shows that simple strategies, such as doing memory exercises, eating a wholesome diet, regular exercise and reducing stress all help boost brain functioning. 

  • Brainteasers like crossword puzzles, Sudoku and word searches engage and challenge the mind, which seems to have a positive effect on enhancing memory and brain function.

  • Physical activity increases breathing and heart rate, increasing blood flow and oxygen levels to the brain. Simply walking every day has been shown to elevate mood, enhance cognitive functioning and lower the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. 

  • Eating five small meals a day rather than 
three large ones helps prevent drastic fluctuations in blood-glucose levels – the brain’s main energy source. In addition, eating a balanced diet that’s rich in omega-3 fats (such as those found in fish, vegetable oils and nuts), antioxidants and quality, high-fibre carbohydrates like whole grains has also been shown to support cognitive functioning. 

  • Daily relaxation through activities like yoga or quiet meditation is also critical to brain health. Stress causes the body to release cortisol, a hormone that can impair memory and damage brain cells. 

Other novel approaches to making new neural connections include using your non-dominant hand to do daily tasks like brushing your teeth, dialling the phone or operating your computer mouse.

You can also challenge your brain by trying new activities, like playing chess, taking up a creative hobby like painting or learning a new language. Put that way, building brain cells sounds downright fun.

Originally published in Wellness Matters, Canada Wide Media’s quarterly newsletter on health and wellness.