If you think that physical exercise is an excellent way to keep yourself healthy, then try training your brain instead of your body!
How often do you hear someone say they want to get fit or lose weight? The problem is that most of us don’t realize that our brains play a huge role in our overall health and well-being.
For years, scientists have known that exercise positively affects the brain. Researchers at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine have found that regular aerobic exercise can improve cognitive function in older adults.
Exercise improves blood flow throughout the body, which helps deliver oxygen and nutrients to the brain. Exercise also increases levels of BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor), a protein that promotes the growth and repair of neurons.
Mental and physical games
Research has proven that regular physical activity can be a great way to enhance cognitive capabilities such as recall of memories, problem-solving concentration, the ability to pay attention to details. But, it’s not certain if physical exercise only boosts your brain’s performance or if other elements — such as the mental challenge associated with the exercise and the frequency with which you engage in it, as well as the desire to play a role better.
For instance, take swimming, for example. It’s a sport that has obvious cardiovascular and muscle-building benefits. However, it requires constant processing, thinking, and learning. Knowing your breathing pattern and the right kicks and strokes is essential. You can also measure your proficiency by speed and endurance, which encourages you to work on your abilities to become a more efficient swimmer.
An activity that trains the brain doesn’t need to be related to exercise. A lot of research has shown that artistic activities such as painting and other forms of art can enhance cognitive performance. A study published by Gerontologists looked at 31 studies that looked at the effects of these particular activities on the cognitive abilities of seniors and concluded that they all improved various aspects of memory, including the ability to recall instructions and processing speeds.
Exercise for the Mind
Mindfulness is an essential part of staying mentally fit. We should try to be aware of what is happening around us, rather than thinking about the past or worrying about the future. This helps us to focus on the present. When we practice mindfulness, we learn to control our emotions and thoughts.
Attention is the brain’s way to select one thing out of many things. It helps us focus on what we’re doing and helps us ignore distractions. Attention is significant to how well we do in school. People who have problems paying attention may be more likely to get into trouble at school.
Practicing a new, difficult activity is a great option to build and maintain cognitive abilities.
Your brain can grow and learn as you get older. The process is known as brain plasticity. However, for it to do this, it must be trained regularly.
“Eventually, your cognitive abilities are going to decline, and your ability to think and remember will become more difficult, which is why you must build reserves,” says Dr. John N. Morris, director of health and social policy research at Harvard’s Institute for Aging Research. “Embracing something new which also requires the mind to consider and grow and that requires constant practice could be among the most effective methods to keep your brain in good health.”
|Get your brain ready. These suggestions can help you in your new brain-training program: Select one new activity. Devote your time and attention to just one other activity to avoid attracting other activities. Register for classes. Classes are a great way to understand the fundamentals of any new endeavor, particularly those requiring specific abilities, such as painting or playing music. Plan your practice time. Don’t focus on the practice time initially Instead, focus on the sameness. Set aside the time you have and be consistent with your commitment. Make it a point to schedule it and stick to it.|
Make sure you are doing the right thing
Whatever new exercise you pick, be sure you follow these guidelines for optimal brain training, as per Dr. Morris.
You have to challenge your brain to enable it to expand constantly. This is the reason why engaging in a new sport is beneficial. It makes your brain discover something new and allows you to grow.
Are you not interested in a new venture? Set a higher bar for your current activity. If, for instance, you’re a golfer who’s not very experienced, take the initiative to improve your skills and strive to reduce your handicap or score an exact score. “You aren’t faced with the task of discovering something completely new. It’s instead of the task of enhancing your knowledge and skills,” says Dr. Morris.
A complex activity is not just a source of excitement but also requires your brain to focus on specific thinking processes such as problem-solving and imaginative thinking. A study published in 2013 published in Psychological Science found that people who were older than 60 to 90 who participated in challenging and novel tasks, such as quilting or digital photography at about 16 hours a week for three months, had better scores on long-term and working test of memory than people who performed routine activities such as reading or solving crossword puzzles.
Practice makes permanent changes, which is true to brain function. “You cannot improve your memory if it isn’t worked on it,” claims Professor. Morris. “The longer you commit to your brain, the more benefit it will receive.”
Your job should require an amount of practice and constant effort, But the objective is not to aim for massive gains. “It is the continuous repeated effort to improve, not the pursuit of mastery which will have the most influence,” says Dr. Morris.
Try to exercise being mindful of your breathing. You must be aware of:
- Your body as it moves.
- Of the sensation of your breath as it rises and falls.
- Understand how your mind wanders when I’m trying to focus on your breathing.
As soon as you stop paying attention to your breath, you’ll think about something else. You’ll notice that you’re thinking about something else because your mind wants to go somewhere else. When you return your attention to your breath, you’re training your brain to focus on what’s happening right now.
Use your brain power for noticing distractions when you become distracted by them. Try using your mental cognitive to prevent yourself from being distracted by thoughts. Use your brain power to redirect your attention back to breathing.
Mindfulness meditation is about paying attention to your breathing. You’re trying to focus on your breath as much as possible. When you do this, you’re activating many different parts of your brain. These parts help you learn new things and remember things.
You train your brain to focus on the sensations of breathing. This helps you stay focused when you meditate.
Mindfulness is being aware of our surroundings without reacting to them. We should be mindful of our thoughts as well. When we are mindful, we are less likely to think negative things. This helps us stay calm and happy.
What Happens to a Wandering Mind?
Scientists have found that you’re likely to be unhappy if you keep thinking about something bad. You may also get anxious if you think about something bad that might come true. If your mind keeps wandering into the past or the far future, you’ll probably feel depressed or anxious.
Neuroscientists have discovered different types of neurons in the human brain. There are also other patterns of neuron activity in people experiencing different emotions.
A girl has her brain waves recorded by an electroencephalogram (EEG). Scientists use this device to measure how much activity indifferent brain parts are. Positive feelings are associated with greater left-sided brain activity.
Neuroscientists measure electrical activity on the scalp using electrodes. If the electrical activity is measured on the scalp on both sides of the head, scientists can determine whether the electrical activity is equal on both sides of the skull. If there is a lack of symmetry between the two sides of a person’s brain, neuroscientists can tell whether there is relatively more right side or left side brain activity.
Practicing a new and challenging activity is a good bet for building and maintaining cognitive skills.
Your brain needs to be trained regularly to stay sharp. It would help if you tried different activities to help improve your mental abilities.
The physical and mental game
Regular physical exercise improves your brain by boosting blood flow to your brain. You may be more likely to remember things when you exercise regularly. Exercise helps you concentrate better. You might want to try different activities to see what works best for you.
Swimming is a great sport because it requires you to think about what you’re doing while you do it. You have to learn to breathe correctly and execute proper strokes and kicks. You can measure your skill level by measuring your endurance and speed. This makes you want to practice more often.
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Brain training activities don’t always have to be related to exercise. Art, music, and writing can help boost your brainpower.
Do the right activity
Brain-training activities should be challenging. They should also be fun. A person who wants to exercise their brain must constantly challenge themself. This is what makes brain training so beneficial. It allows people to engage their brains and learn new things.
Not up for a new endeavor. Raising the bar for a current endeavor. Commitment to increase my skill set and knowledge.
Complex activities require you to think about how things work. It would help if you used your brain to solve problems and develop ideas. Older people should do complex activities to improve mental health and boost cognitive function.
Working hard at improving your memory will make it better. It would help if you constantly practiced getting better at anything. Don’t try to master everything right away. Focus on what you want to learn, and do lots of practice.
What are the mental health benefits of exercise?
Exercise is not just about aerobic fitness and muscle mass. Sure, exercise can help you lose weight, get into shape, and improve your sex life. But that’s not why most people exercise. Most people exercise because it makes them feel better. They feel happier, healthier, and more confident. They feel more energetic during the day, sleep better, and have sharper memories. And it’s also helpful for many common mental health issues.
Regular exercise can help people who suffer from depression, anxiety, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Exercise doesn’t have to be extreme to be effective. It can even be done in moderation.
How to keep your brain agile and sharp
People who have achieved a higher level of education often have more developed brains, so it makes sense to think that education can help keep your brain healthy. Research supports the link between “intellectual enrichment” and brain health in old age.
Because our brains are constantly learning, thinking, creating, and processing information, the more you challenge them, the healthier they seem to be. Here are some ways to keep your brain agile and sharp:
1) Play games.
There’s no need to go out and buy Candy Crush for this purpose; board games, card games, word games, and sometimes even video games can all work just as well. The important thing is to find games that you like and make time for them.
The more in-depth your travel experiences are, the better. Being in a completely different environment will always provide opportunities to learn something new, stimulating your brain. Try visiting places where the language is different and uses characters you don’t know.
3) Read fiction.
Fiction makes us flex our creative muscles, keeps us engaged in what’s happening around us, and can help us learn empathy for others’ experiences. Reading has also been shown to slow down the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.
4) Talk with people you trust about your fears and feelings.
It doesn’t matter whether you talk to a friend, spouse, or counselor. What’s important is that you find someone you can trust who will listen and understand what you’re going through without judging you.
5) Be creative.
People thrive when they have an outlet for their creativity. Even if it’s only 20 minutes every day, use this time to do something that makes you fully engaged at the moment. Get creative with cooking, decorating, or even just putting pen to paper and doodling whatever comes into your mind.
6) Quit multi-tasking.
When we multi-task, our brains have a hard time committing anything to long-term memory because they’re too busy processing all the information thrown at it. If you have a hard time focusing on one thing, try taking deep breaths and clearing your mind.
7) Get up and move around every hour or so.
Our brains were made to be used a lot! Sitting for long periods of time inhibits blood flow which means that less oxygen-rich blood flows to your brain. To keep your blood flowing and your brain healthy, stand up, stretch and do some jumping jacks.
8) Manage stress levels.
When we’re under a lot of stress, our brains have a more challenging time functioning properly because it’s constantly on high alert. We might know that stressing out isn’t good for our brains, but we’re often caught in a cycle of negative feelings because it’s part of human nature to dwell on the problems in our lives.
9) Do things that make you uncomfortable.
By doing things that scare or challenge us, we strengthen our brains by learning from the experience and learning how to cope with the uncertainty that comes with it.
10) Aim for balance.
It’s important to remember that there is no such thing as a completely healthy lifestyle; we’re all human and inevitably make mistakes from time to time! The key is making an effort instead of doing nothing at all.
Regular physical activity is vital to lengthening our lifespan, but it’s just as important to train our brains to stay sharp. Staying mentally active throughout the aging process has been linked to a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia. Try to add at least 20 minutes of brain training each day, whether learning a new language or playing games. Challenge yourself by doing new and uncomfortable things, which are essential for brain health!
Finally, remember that there is no such thing as a healthy lifestyle 100% of the time. If you make a mistake from time to time, don’t beat yourself up about it! The important thing is making an effort to be your best self every day.
Alex is a passionate fitness enthusiast dedicated to helping people lead healthier, more active lifestyles. He encourages small – sustainable changes over drastic transformations and works with people to create customized wellness plans. His mission is to help others benefit from the most effective methods available, sharing tips, strategies, and health & fitness tools on Gearuptofit.com to inspire people to live their best lives.