It’s the holidays and many of us are scrambling around trying to find that perfect gift for someone special (or, maybe just ANY gift at this point!) While it may feel like a chore to pick out a gift, giving someone a gift is actually good for your brain! That’s right, not only is it fun to receive gifts, when you give a gift it’s proven to have a positive effect on your mental well-being!
Studies at the National Institutes of Health found that gift-giving activates different regions in your brain linked to pleasure, social connection and trust, which is good for the overall health of your brain. What’s more, when you give, you also tend to create an atmosphere of generosity, increasing the likelihood that others around you will be more generous too! (Yeah, this could work in your favor!)
Before you rush to the first item you see, keep in mind that the positive effects will be more powerful if you give a gift that is meaningful. And, who doesn’t want to challenge their brain? Fit Brains has something to offer everyone. And, with the most games and variety of any brain training program on the market, it’s sure to entertain anyone.
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.
One of the biggest boosts you can give your brain is a good night’s sleep. Adequate sleep is vital to proper brain function. Without it — our judgment, reaction time, memory and other brain functions may be impaired. According to Dr. Mark Mahowald, a professor of neurology at the University of Minnesota Medical School, one night of lost sleep has the same impact in simulated driving tests as illegally high blood-alcohol levels.
Turn in early to give yourself 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night (this is considered average, though some people may need as few as 5 or as many as 10 hours.) For many, falling asleep is a challenge. Anxiety, stress, pain, interpersonal conflicts and medication all impact one’s ability to get a good night’s sleep. Luckily, sleep is a learned behaviour and you can change it.
7 Suggestions to Improve Your Sleep
Cut down on caffeine – Even if you don’t stop it completely, reducing makes a difference.
Get more exercise – Walk daily, you will notice a difference immediately.
Listen to a soothing CD before bed. Or try white noise to create a background.
Take a warm bath before bed.
Maintain a regular schedule. Going to bed and getting up around the same time help you develop a rhythm that can make falling asleep easier.
Spruce up your sleeping area. A comfortable mattress, comfortable bedding and blackout curtains can make a world of difference.
Use the bed for sleep, not channel or Internet surfing.
Make sure you bookmark our blog & check back often for more health & lifestyle tips! Also, remember to keep challenging your brain by training withFit Brains!
Did you know socializing can boost your brain health?
Connecting with friends & family is one of the easiest ways to maintain a novel environment for our brains. Friends & family provide opportunities to communicate, interact, and share experiences. They also provide the necessary motivation to stay mentally active and involved.
Socializing and sustaining a social network can seem difficult or daunting, but keeping in touch can be as easy as picking up your phone! If you’re having trouble getting started, how about trying these 6 simple steps…
Your Game Plan for a Strong Social Network:
Open your address book – Search your brain, book, or phone for your list of contacts.
Pick your priorities – Categorize your contacts into 3 groups: Family & closest friends, Good friends, Casual acquaintances.
Make a plan to connect – Based on your priorities, determine some people you want to connect with weekly, monthly, quarterly or yearly and mark reminders in your calendar.
Follow through – Contact them in advance to schedule the get-togethers. If they’re not there, leave a message.
Reschedule – If your friend or family member can’t make it, plan another day to reconnect.
A great snack that helps rejuvenate the brain after draining amounts of studying, work, chores, etc.! Check out the Fit Brains‘collection of recipes, we will add new brain healthy recipes every couple of days so visit often!
Purple Monster Smoothie
What you Need:
2 frozen bananas, chopped
1/2 cup frozen blueberries
1 cup orange juice (or soy milk)
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon vanilla
Putting it all Together:
Place bananas, blueberries and juice in a blender and puree.