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15 ways to improve your brain fitness 

Achieving mental fitness got easy!

15 ways to improve your brain fitness.

Quite a lot, if you do it right.

We know you are here because your focus keeps swinging like a child on a hammock!

And even the almonds cannot make you remember things!

So, everything ends here?

Of course not!

You can quickly improve your brain function by practicing simple tricks and brain exercises.

But first, let’s understand how the brain works.

Our brain is the most complicated part of our body.

It manages the functioning of multiple organs, decodes sensory data, and regulates our sentiments.

It is also the core of our memory, creativity, and intellect.

And even though it constantly works, even during sleep, some activities can improve your mental fitness.

And that’s what we are going to talk about here.

We will discuss:

  • What kind of cognitive activities can be called memory exercises?
  • The different ways to biohack brain
  • The benefits you get from these mental exercises.

Ready to hop in?

Let’s go!

What makes an activity a brain health exercise? 

We spend most of our day doing the same monotonous job.

Don’t we?

Did you find it a compelling task to brush your teeth or do any of those jobs you have been doing every day?

No right?

And that’s not a bad thing.

Your habits reduce your brain’s load by cutting down decision-making.

It lets you perform complicated tasks like cooking a full course meal with little brainpower and stimulation.

That’s your brain’s ability to retain habits.

However, your brain gets slow and static with the lack of stimulation.

And training your brain into doing new and complex activities can act as a workout for your brain.

Go for things that are mentally challenging and involve decision-making.

Ways to Improve your brain function

Working out has excellent health benefits!

And we all agree to it, don’t we?

We can achieve body fitness by carrying out a variety of physical activities like:

  • Gym.
  • Walking
  • Dancing
  • Running
  • Skipping.

And the result is, you develop muscles that help you function better.

You also:

  • Gain strength.
  • Become lean.
  • Have more energy and endurance.
  • And become less likely to develop an injury or accident.

Developing qualified health brings positive emotions, less stress and a sense of achievement.

And the good part is, you can develop the same for your brain as well.

But what does it mean to exercise your brain?

Can the brain do squats or crunches?

No right?

Here’s what you can do to get brain fitness.

Brain fitness method #1: Play quizzes and puzzles to strengthen brain cells.

The best way to challenge your brain is to play brain fitness games that tease your brain cells.

Different types of games offer different benefits like:

  • Card or board games: Playing card and board games is a great way to socialize and have fun. Not just this, these activities are also beneficial for the brain. Experts have found a link between playing card games with less risk of cognitive impairment in older adults. (1)
  • Memory games: These games improve memory, awareness and your ability to retain patterns. These are easy ways to activate the brain areas which work towards recognizing and memorizing things.
  • Crossword puzzles: Crossword puzzles can be a great activity to stimulate your brain. A study found that these puzzles are very helpful in delaying the onset of preclinical dementia. (2)
  • Jigsaw puzzles: We all know how fun it is to finish a jigsaw puzzle. It also improves brain function. A 2018 study found that playing jigsaw puzzles can activate many cognitive functions like perception, working memory, reasoning, and mental rotation and protect you against the aging brain. (3)
  • Sudoku: Sudoku challenges your brain and is a great way to improve your cognitive function.
  • Chess: Chess is known to improve your memory, information processing speed and cognitive functioning.
  • Checkers: A 2015 study found a connection between playing checkers with reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Checkers stimulate your brain and improve your cognitive health. (4)
  • Video playing: Video games involving action, puzzles, or strategy may improve attention span, problem-solving, and cognitive functions.

Brain fitness method #2: Meditate

Meditation is simply the best thing you can do for your mind and body.

Not only does it relax your brain, but it also improves your cognitive health by giving your brain a workout.

When you meditate, you create a different mental state for your brain.

This state is an arena for your brain to engage in new and exciting things.

Meditation:

  • Helps you focus better.
  • Keeps you calm & controlled.
  • Improves your brain’s ability to process and churn out information.
  • Delays brain aging.

You can do this at home or join a yoga class.

But if you can’t make time for a yoga class- it is when technology kicks in.

You can use headsets like the brain tap to detach yourself completely from the surroundings and gain back the focus again.

Brain fitness method #3: Eat brain-healthy foods

Our food is our growth agent.

The type of food we intake determines our health.

If you want to improve your brain health, focus on top foods to feed your brain that are rich in healthy fats, proteins, omega 3 fatty acids, carbohydrates, carotenoids, and vitamins. (5)

You can simply biohack your brain by consuming foods like:

  • Fatty fish.
  • Blueberries.
  • Coffee.
  • Turmeric.
  • Broccoli.
  • Pumpkin seeds.
  • Dark chocolate.
  • Nuts.
  • Oranges.
  • Green tea.
  • Eggs.
  • Flax seeds.
  • Olive oil.

These foods are really good for your body and also help in relieving stress.

Eat more of this healthy diet and less processed fats and eliminate trans fats and junk items from your diet.

Brain fitness method #4: Exercise

Do you feel up after you exercise?

Oh yes! That feeling is fantastic.

That’s because your brain releases those feel-good hormones and reduces your stress.

Apart from exercising, there are several ways to biohack your stress.

Also, when you work out, your body has to adapt and learn new skills, estimate distance, practice balance and get used to weights.

This working out creates a lot of challenges for your brain.

So, your physical exercise is also your brain exercise.

Exercising can be favorable for both your body and your brain.

Research suggests that exercising can improve your brain health in the following ways: (6)

  • Improve memory.
  • Slows down brain aging.
  • Improves cognitive performance.
  • Enhances neural function

Brain fitness method #5: Read something different

 

Books are a storehouse of knowledge!

It is free, portable and filled with information and facts.

But we all have some favorite genres or languages which love reading.

So, if you generally read psychology books, try reading history or if you love reading fiction, try romance or mystery.

This switch will open up a new dimension for your brain.

It will not only act as a workout for your brain, but you will also be graced with a bunch of information about things that were previously unknown to you.

You can also try learning a foreign language.

Researchers have found that bilingualism increases connectivity between different areas of the brain and helps delay the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. (7)

If you don’t want to do any of it, we have a simple hack for you.

Just recite or read a book with your partner or friend or your child.

You can also listen to audiobooks.

Simply reading it out will stimulate your brain to imagine different scenarios.

Brain fitness method #6: Learn a new skill

Does your body feel tired, or your mind feels heavy when you study the whole day or try something for the first time?

It is because your brain has to work harder to make those things happen since they are not wired in your head already.

Learning a new thing needs a lot of brain activity because multiple areas of your brain have to function simultaneously.

Your already made habits are not helping your brain, and you have to start it from the beginning.

So:

  • Sign up for things that are new to your brain.
  • Travel places you have never been before.
  • Try out new cuisines.
  • Learn a new musical instrument.
  • If you’re a non-dancer, try it.
  • Go for something completely different from your personality.

These small changes will pose a challenge for our brain and will improve its functioning.

Studies suggest that trying out new things also enhances your memory function. (8)

Brain fitness method #7: Socialize

There is a simple logic behind this.

When you meet your friends, you enjoy the time you spend with them.

It is a leisure activity that keeps your brain engaged.

Also, when you meet new people, you exchange ideas and thoughts.

And it is a normal human tendency to adopt things or thoughts we like.

So, when you face new thoughts, your brain tries to absorb them.

Research says that people with more social contact are at less risk of cognitive decline. (9)

Brain fitness method #8: The 4-details observation exercise

Have trouble remembering little things?

It can be related to low awareness.

But worry not!

We have a great hack that can improve your verbal memory.

Try this exercise that involves memorizing 4 noticeable details about a person or place you visited or encountered in a day.

If you visit a place, try remembering the exact time you got there, the color of a car parked nearby, the interior/exterior of that place, and the money you spent.

The goal is to analyze these tiny details and recall them later.

Some scientists call these exercises “passive memory training.”

The reason is- you are not using any unique trick or technique to remember them; you are just doing what your brain is designed to do-to memorize.

And why does it even matter?

It is because we don’t practice analysis daily, and we fail to observe tiny details.

So, when we deliberately observe these tiny details, we are forcing our brain to create a habit out of it.

And awareness of your surroundings is a great habit to have.

If you want to be a great analyzer, try noticing and visualizing these little things.

And you can always scale up on this.

You have to increase the number of things you are observing or add the persons or places in your already created list.

Plus, when you observe people around you, you develop excellent social skills.

Killed two birds with one shot!

Brain fitness method #9: Repeat and recall what people say in your mind

It hurts to know that most people don’t listen to us when we speak.

But we can always be the bigger person.

So, instead of just nodding and zoning out in a conversation, try to focus on what everyone is saying and remember it.

It will serve two purposes at a time:

  • The people around you will feel valued.
  • You will get a mental boost.

This exercise is indeed an easy one.

All you gotta do is recall in your mind everything which is being said to you.

Try this exercise every time someone is talking to you, and notice the changes in your memory.

The more challenging the information, the more strength your cognitive functions gain.

Brain fitness method #10: The metronome clapping exercise

In this exercise, you must use a metronome with a slow speed and practice while covering the clicks.

It is an easy exercise that helps you focus on things that your brain is built for.

It doesn’t directly affect or improve your memory, but it provides a lot of advantages like:

  • Better focus and presence of mind.
  • Improved neural pathways

As you get better at this, try stretching the amount of time between the clicks.

Brain fitness method #11: Listening to music

Listening to music brings peace.

We all love music, right?

But do you know, listening to your favorite music improves your brain health?

Research says that music can improve your cognitive function and overall improve your brainpower. (10)

Apart from this, it also helps with:

  • Preventing premature brain aging.
  • Reduces stress.
  • Improves mood.
  • Increases memory and alertness.

It does wonders to your brain.

Brain fitness method #12: Sleeping

Though not an active exercise for your brain, sleeping is crucial for both our body and brain.

Experts suggest that you need 7-9 hours of sleep every night to function well as an adult. (11)

Sleeping helps to:

  • Boost memory.
  • Reduce stress and exhaustion.
  • Maintain metabolism.

If you want a healthy brain function, fix your sleep schedule.

If you are having sleepless nights, SleepPhones are your friend.

You can also get a lot of help from the Sleep aid guides.

Brain fitness method #13: Number exercise that skyrockets your cognitive function

Want mental cardio?

Go for number exercises.

This exercise is compelling and helps to improve the cognitive abilities of your brain.

It also boosts your logic and reasoning.

Just pick a 3 digit number, add 3 to that number thrice, then minus 7 from the number 7 times.

Repeat this process over and over, or you can intensify its level.

Sounds easy, right?

It is quite a difficult task, to begin with.

So it strengthens your working memory because you need to hold a lot of detail in your mind to finish it.

Brain fitness method #14: Visualization exercise

It involves creating a mental image or blueprint to represent any data or information.

The mental imagery can be in any form- actual or just your imagination.

A 2018 review study found that visualization can help your brain in organizing data and improve decision making. (12)

You can easily practice visualization in your everyday life.

Ever thought about the food you are going to order before visiting a restaurant.

That’s what Visualization is.

Brain fitness method #15: Practice Tai Chi

Tai chi is a form of physical activity that involves gentle and slow body movements, rhythmic breathing and meditation.

It not only benefits your body but has multiple benefits for your brain.

Tai Chi is known to improve the link between different areas of your brain.

A 2013 research journal found that people who practiced Tai Chi experienced:(13)

  • Improved cognition.
  • Reduced risk of memory loss.
  • Less stress.
  • Better sleep

Practicing Tai Chi regularly for a prolonged period can trigger structural changes in your brain and increase brain volume.

As a beginner, you will need the help of an expert to learn the movements and rhythms.

But once you are acquainted with the basic things, you can easily practice it anywhere anytime.

What are the benefits of brain exercise?

When you give your brain that mental workout, you boost your brainpower and your mental health improves, protecting you against cognitive decline.

Developing the skills for better mental fitness can benefit you and everyone around you. Not only this, but it also has a variety of benefits like:

  • Being present: When you are mindful, you retain information better, listen, understand, and even your awareness is at its peak. Try being in a mindful state, not interrupted by distractions. The results are excellent. You will see an improvement in your work, relationships and almost every realm of your life.
  • Try responding than reacting: When you have an excellent grip over your thoughts, you choose to respond practically and less emotionally rather than reacting to it unnecessarily. This will improve your relationships and the way you perceive things.
  • Improves cognitive functions: Better focus, speed, brain working memory, concentration, communication and time management. Imagine improving them all. It won’t feel any less than an achievement because these things have a very positive impact both personally and professionally in your life. Your relationships improve because you remember tiny details like important dates and events of your friends and family.
  • Enhanced positive emotions: Optimism is a great thing, but it is tough to inculcate a habit of positive emotions. Research says that for every 3 negative thoughts, you process 1 positive thought. So the ratio is quite unbalanced. But the brain exercises improve cognitive function, which boosts your ability to notice and positively reframe your thoughts. Human thoughts rekindle optimistic mindsets that give way to more positive behavior. (14)
  • You appear more confident: With better cognitive function, your relationship with yourself becomes stronger. Your self-esteem increases, and you focus more on your strengths. Compassion and empathy increase by practicing mindfulness.

FAQs

Here are some of the questions people usually ask.

How can I improve my brain fitness?

You can improve your brain function in the following ways:

  • Get physical exercise.
  • Eat and drink smartly.
  • Meditate regularly.
  • Maintain a gratitude journal.
  • Make it a habit to notice new things around you.
  • Savor the good things in life.
  • Practice body awareness.

What are 3 ways exercise can improve your brain?

The different ways in which exercises boost your nerve cells and cognitive abilities are:

  • Improves cardiovascular health.
  • Increases blood flow in the brain.
  • Cuts down inflammation.
  • Reduces the stress hormone levels.

Which exercise is best for the brain?

The following exercises provide a lot of mental benefits. These are:

  • Aerobic exercises like- swimming and running.
  • Weigh lighting.

The reason is- These exercises increase heart rate, thereby improving the blood flow in the brain.

How can I sharpen my brain?

You can improve your cognitive skills or sharpen your brain in the following ways:

  • Follow ideas with mixed results.
  • Practice aerobic exercise daily for at least 10-20 minutes.
  • Try some brain training games.
  • Engage in mind-stimulating conversations.
  • Practice a new hobby to improve your cognitive health.
  • Look around yourself and pay attention to minute details.

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Sources

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6291491/
  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22040899/
  3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22040899/
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6802304/
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2805706/
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5934999/
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5656355/
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4154531/
  9. https://journals.plos.org/plosmedicine/article?id=10.1371/journal.pmed.1002862
  10.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4197792/
  11. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4434546/#:~:text=Adults%20should%20sleep%207%20or,basis%20to%20promote%20optimal%20health.
  12. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6091269/
  13.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3621760/
  14. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2899011/
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