Brain training is one of the hottest health trends around. Surprisingly, it isn’t new: the Edwardians used to be fans. However, the growth of our digital landscape has exploded brain training into a multi-billion dollar industry. And of all the weird and wonderful ways that companies have found to prize us apart from our hard-earned cash, brain training is one of the craftiest. Why? Because brain training is one of the ultimate DIY health options. Here are some things that you can try.
Get on board with ‘neurobics’
We’re used to the notion of a dominant hand, but have you ever wondered what that does to your neurological development? Neurobics is about using simple exercises – such as brushing your teeth with your non-dominant hand – to force your brain to learn. This develops new neural pathways, making your brain healthier. There are some great ideas here.
Turn off autocorrect
We all moan about it anyway, but ditching autocorrect could actually improve your brain health. Forcing yourself to remember spellings strengthens your recall, which is one of the most important strategies for keeping your mind fit and healthy as it ages.
Learn to play poker
Games such as chess and poker offer advanced brain training. They require the learning of strategies and formulas, such as predicting another player’s next move. This develops memory, whilst strengthening cognitive elements such as logic and reasoning.
Pick up a pen
Any writer will tell you a strange truth: they think differently when they are typing than they do when they are writing by hand. Writing by hand is far more demanding, accessing vast reserves of language and memory. Academics have found that handwriting a diary or letter is a powerful brain booster. A pen really can be mighty!
Reach for a paintbrush
Learning a new skill, such as painting, is one of the best ways to develop your cognitive function. Many skills engage multiple areas of the brain, and forcing these to work together strengthens the connections between them. This is why ‘creative thinking’ is such a big buzzword in business: when many parts of the brain are working in harmony, problem solving is enhanced.
Finally: learn! Learn! Learn!
Brain training doesn’t really require any particular strategy. The one thing that’s important is that you keep challenging your brain with new things. These can be things that you simply haven’t done for a while, such as mental arithmetic or handwriting, or it can be something completely new, like learning to play poker or speak a new language. Even slightly odd neurobic challenges such as perfecting walking backwards will all help to upgrade your brain by growing new neural pathways. Turn your life into a brain training experience, and your mind will love you for it.