Well this is the second half of last month’s blog on Brain Exercises. It’s massively important that we continue to exercise our brains, particularly as we begin to age and our cells begin to deplete.
Read books aloud
Take turns reading and listening to a book with your other half, a friend, or a child. If that’s not feasible, alternate reading with listening to audiobooks. This engages the imagination in a different way. One of the earliest demonstrations of brain imaging clearly showed three distinct brain regions lighting up when the same word was read, spoken, or heard.
Take new routes
When routinely commuting, the brain is on autopilot and gets very little stimulation, but taking a route that is unfamiliar, activates the cortex and hippocampus. Bill Gates would take a different route on the way home from work each day, to stimulate his brain. There’s also no need to stick to driving and you can take new routes when walking, biking, or riding public transportation.
Try new things
It’s important to try new things; do the things you’ve never done before. Travel to somewhere you’ve never been. Check out a new recipe. Take on a new hobby that is totally new to you.
Challenge yourself with Mastery
Learning something new stimulates brain activity, but as soon as we master it, the mental benefit stops because the brain becomes more efficient at the activity. The only way to continue to stimulate the brain is to give it new challenges, to come out of our comfort zone. Once you master something, challenge yourself with the next level of difficulty, or learn a related skill.
For this reason, pursuits like learning languages, playing musical instruments, or chess are ideal brain exercises because there is always more to learn.
Do things the hard way
The most obvious way to do things the hard way, is to stop relying on technology. Use your brain instead of your smartphone for basic mental skills like spelling and math. Turn off GPS and learn to read a map and use your sense of direction to find your way around instead.