Most of us think about mental exercises when we think of brain training. And of course this is a very important component of brain training! Did you know that your brain wants to be stimulated and exercised? When you do something new or somewhat complex your brain will react favorably and will become more resilient! On the other hand, your brain will suffer if it is too passive or routine.
Mental exercises or mental stimulation can take many different forms, so here are some tips for different ways your can stimulate your brain!
Learn something new, such as a new language
Travel to new places or use new routes in otherwise familiar setting
Play a musical instrument
Get crafty and creative (like arts and crafts, not witchcraft)
Do focused brain training activities (like Fit Brains)
Play board games
Read and write
What type of mental activity gives your brain the biggest boost? Tell us in the comments! Be sure to follow our blog for more lifestyle, health & brain tips. And, you can always benefit your brain when you play Fit Brains fun brain games! Try Fit Brains for FREE now!
Zombies, witches, machete-wielding maniacs, the typical horrors of Halloween have nothing on your shrinking brain. That’s right. SHRINKING BRAIN. Prepare to be scared.
You may feel perfectly healthy, but your brain is shrinking and you are losing as much as 0.4% of your brain mass every.single.year. Obviously this isn’t good news. A shrinking brain means loss of memory and mental sharpness, severe depression and even premature death (cue the sound of that machete-wielding maniac).
Take heart on this darkest of days. There are things you can do to prevent your brain from shrinking further and improve your brain health!
Get a good night’s sleep (every night). This is critical. Every hour of reduced sleep duration= a 0.67% decrease in cognitive function!
Don’t smoke. I don’t think we need to go into much more detail about this one, but we’ll just add that smoking is associated with faster brain shrinkage and poor brain health.
Feel free to indulge in a little light alcohol consumption (this is our favorite tip), but don’t overdue or you’ll only make things worse for your brain (not to mention your liver…) A standard drink= 14.0 grams or 0.6 ounces of pure alcohol.
Supplement with B vitamins, specifically a combination of folate, vitamin B12 and vitamin B6. B vitamins regulate homocysteine, which if unchecked, can lead to significant brain shrinkage and dementia.
Indulge in Omega 3 fatty acids. Salmon, walnuts, sardines, beef (specifically grass-fed), soybeans, flaxseeds, tofu, shrimp, brussels sprouts, and cauliflower are some of the foods that are rich in Omega 3’s.
Have a daily dose of pomegranate. Studies have demonstrated significant improvements in cognition and memory among those who consume 8 ounces of pomegranate juice daily!
Find a way to get Resveratrol (a major component of red grapes and other dark fruits) into your body, whether you like to drink red wine in moderation, or you can simply take a Resveratrol supplement.
Cognitive stimulation and training helps grow more brain cells which counteracts against brain shrinkage.
So, while there is no denying that you should be worried about your shrinking brain, at least now you know that there is hope when you take the proper steps to maintain better brain health!
Be sure to follow our blog for more lifestyle & health tips. And, you can always benefit your brain when you play Fit Brains fun brain games! Try Fit Brains for FREE now!
Now, more than ever before, people are taking the time to learn about the human brain and the many ways they can improve their brain health. Brain health is about more than disease prevention (though that’s obviously important too); it’s about leading a lifestyle, supported by science, which promotes and facilitates cognitive, emotional, physical ability, spiritual health, and relational health (read: relationships). Basically when you focus on brain health you can live your life to the fullest.
But what does it look like to actually put this into practice? We’re devoting some upcoming posts to lay out specific suggestions for improving your brain health, based on research from Dr. Nussbaum’s Brain Health Lifestyle (see www.paulnussbaum.com). Our first post in this series focuses on physical activity to improve your brain health.
When it comes to physical activity, studies conducted by the University of Adelaide, Australia, have shown that a single 30 minute session of physical activity benefits your brain (as reported in Medical Daily). Researchers say physical activity makes your brain more “plastic”, which can help things like memory, motor skills and learning in general. It also increases circulation, which helps for more efficient delivery of nutrients and the like. That’s probably worth getting out the stationary bike for, right? There are lots of different ways you can move to benefit your brain though!
Here are some of our favorite suggestions for exercise to boost your brain health:
Walk a mile daily
Up the ante with aerobics 3 times a week (yeah, break out that old Jane Fonda video)
Try some mild weight training
Try Yoga, Pilates, Barre (or whatever they come out with next!)
Basically, whatever you do, DON’T JUST SIT THERE!
What type of physical activity gives your brain the biggest boost? Tell us in the comments! Be sure to follow our blog for more lifestyle & health tips. And, you can always benefit your brain when you play Fit Brains fun brain games! Try Fit Brains for FREE now!
Fit Brains. Brain Training Success.
Source: Caba, Justin. Your Brain On Exercise: 30 Minutes of Physical Activity Makes Your Brain More ‘Plastic’. Medical Daily. 2014.
Bad News: It’s Monday morning. Coffee is not working. Schedule for the day involves a lot of thinking, talking, and moving.
Coffee is not the only solution to life’s problems.
Weekday mornings are never appealing to the brain. However, there are certain things you can do to ease the torturous time and effort to wake up, refresh, and energize your mind. Check out our tips below:
Drink Water — Drink a glass of water immediately after you wake up to kick up your metabolism and de-fog your brain.
Don’t “Snooze” — You’re setting yourself up to feel lazy & unmotivated throughout the day when you delay waking up and hit “snooze” multiple times in the morning. Pick a time that gives you enough sleep but also enough time to go through your morning routine without rushing, and wake up when your first alarm rings.
Open the Blinds — Sunlight has a direct effect on the activity in our brains. When we deprive our brains of light, we will stay in a groggy, sleep-like state of consciousness. Bright light helps shift our brain waves to higher frequencies and triggers the release of brain-happy neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine.
Exercise in the Morning — The act of exercising in the morning might sound horrendous if you’ve never done it, but besides obvious health reasons, it’ll actually give you more energy throughout the whole day. Try sleeping in your workout clothes to lessen the chances of making excuses in the morning.
Turn up the Music — Listen to some upbeat tunes as you get ready in the morning. Studies have shown that music is the one stimulus that lights up the entire brain on a PET scan. Music helps the brain release dopamine, a neurotransmitter that helps to regulate the brain’s pleasure and reward centres, as well as emotional responses and motivation.
Take a Cold Shower — No explanation needed. It’s horrible. But it works.
Don’t treat Coffee like a “Drug” — On days you feel more energized, try to forego the coffee, or at least try cutting down the amount you drink everyday. If you absolutely need a pick-me-up, try drinking some brain-healthy green tea instead!
Eat Breakfast — Take the phrase “breakfast is the most important meal of the day” seriously. Breakfast gives your brain vital nutrients that it needs in order to optimally carry out mental processes throughout the day. Think of it as fuel for your body, without it, you’ll run out of fumes! Try including some brain-healthy foods in your breakfast diet.
Talk to Someone — Engage in some light chit-chat with a family member, friend, or co-worker in the morning. Even though you might not feel like it, taking the initiative to engage in a conversation really helps to get your mind & body out of a “zombie-like” state.
Play Fit Brains — Prep your brain for a new day’s workload by spending a few minutes playing Fit Brains brain games. Fit Brains exercises help stimulate and entertain your mind. You can play Fit Brains on any web browser or train on-the-go with our iOS, Android, or Amazon app!
Do YOU have any “wake-up” tips of your own? Share with us in the comments below or on Twitter or Facebook using the hashtag #wakeupbraintip!
A study completed recently in December 2013 on nearly 1,000 brain scans has surprisingly confirmed what many of us thought…that there are major differences between the male & female brain. Women’s and men’s brains are indeed wired in fundamentally different ways.
The research showed that on average, female brains are highly connected across the left and right hemispheres, and connections in male brains are typically stronger between the front and back regions. Men’s brains tend to perform tasks predominantly on the left-side, which is the logical/rational side of the brain. Women, on the other hand, use both sides of their brains because a woman’s brain has a larger Corpus Callosum, which means women can transfer data between the right and left hemispheres faster than men.
Here is a list of the basic differences between women & men based on research studies of the brain done up to now. This might be a handy list to show to your other half to avoid future misunderstandings!
Brain Size & Brain Connections: Women’s brains are 8% smaller than men’s, but have more interconnections. Women perform better at “bigger picture” & situational thinking while men do better on more specific spatial thinking (problem solving, and pattern prediction involving objects and their spatial relationships).
Multi-tasking: Men tend to be better at learning and performing a single task, like cycling or navigating, and women are better at juggling different tasks at once.
Social Context: Women are better at social thinking & interactions than men, while men are more abstract and task-orientated. This is why women are normally better at communication while men more often prefer relying on themselves to get things done.
Emotions: Women typically have a larger limbic system than men, which makes them more in touch and expressive with their emotions. Women are usually more empathic and comprehensive in thinking, while men focus on exact issues and disregard impertinent information. Men have a difficult time understanding emotions not explicitly verbalized but can think more logically, while women have a more wholesome view of thinking & understanding but their emotions can sometimes influence decisions.
Math Skills: A brain area called the “Inferior-Parietal Lobule (IPL)” is normally larger in men than women. This area is thought to control mathematical processes, which explains why men typically can perform mathematical tasks better than women.
Pain: Women tend to perceive pain more intensely than men. The Amygdala is the brain area activated when pain is felt. The right Amygdala is activated for men and the left Amygdala is activated for women. The right Amygdala has more connections with external functions while the left Amygdala has more connections with internal functions.
Coordination & Movement: Men are generally better with coordination, controlling their movements, and have faster reaction times.
Language: Women are more attuned to words and sounds and are normally better at learning languages. This is also why men tend to have a harder time expressing emotions verbally.
Memory: Women generally have better memory than men. They have greater activity in the brain’s hippocampus, which is part of the brain that helps store memories. Studies have shown women are generally better at recalling words, names, faces, pictures, objects, and everyday events.
Sense of Direction: Men has shown to have better visual-spatial & geographic memory and thinking, meaning they tend to have a better sense of direction and remembering where locations and areas are.
Risks & Rewards: Men has a brain wired for risk-taking more than women. Male brains get a bigger burst of endorphins, sensation of pleasure, when faced with a risky or challenging situation. And the bigger the reward is, the more likely a man will take a risk.
Senses & Sex: Men focus more on their visual sense, among other senses of perception; while women tend to use multiple senses. In terms of sexual activity, men are prevalently turned on by what they see, whereas women are turned on by multiple sources: ambience, touch, scent, as well as visual perception.
What did you think about the list? Tell us in the comments! Be sure to follow our blog for more lifestyle & health tips and lists. Also, both our female and male readers can challenge and entertain their brain by playing Fit Brains brain training games, so check it out!