5 Exercises for Improving Brain Functionality

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The brain is command central for everything we do as living organic beings. It’s the body and mind’s C.E.O., instructing our muscles, organs and cells at every moment. But the one organ that enables us to think, feel, move, speak and carry out the countless tasks we are faced with each day is like a loop system. It needs us to consciously exercise our bodies and minds to continue operating at peak efficiency.

5 Web-Surfing and Word Games

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We all know that reading a good book can make you smarter, but it turns out reading—or surfing—the Internet can, too. A 2008 study published in the “American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry” found that surfing the Internet can actually boost brain activity. And if you surf on over to any of the countless sites for language and word game lovers, you will be sharpening and strengthening your verbal memory and comprehension skills.

4 Physical Exercise

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Physical exercise improves brain function no matter what your age. For older individuals with mild memory loss—which is a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia—physical exercise is especially beneficial. One 2013 study of a group of women between 70 and 80 found that cardiovascular exercise and weight training significantly improved verbal and spatial memory. Another study published in 2011 showed a connection between cardiovascular exercise and heightened levels of a brain protein that builds brain cells and improves the function of existing cells.

3 Use Your Hand, Not Your Keyboard

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Writing is a fantastic way to exercise your brain. The benefits of writing as a creative mental activity are obvious, but there is more to it than that. The physical act of writing—regardless of the content—aids both memory and comprehension in a way that keyboarding words on a computer or a smartphone does not. When you have to remember specific words—as for a test or when you’re learning a foreign language—writing the words out by hand is much better than typing or keyboarding them.

2 Listen to Music

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Educators have long known about the connection between music and learning, so turn up the volume in your daily life. Listening to music increases cognitive functioning and language skills, improves memory, and can enhance your ability to focus and concentrate. Listening to music while exercising does more than make the time go by faster and the physical effort more enjoyable. It can also boost the physiological benefits of each activity.

1 Neuromuscular Connection Exercises

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Practice using your non-dominant hand to do routine tasks, such as moving a computer mouse, channel-surfing, brushing your hair or your teeth, or making a phone call. Pay attention to the awkwardness you feel; that’s because you are asking the neurons in your brain that connect with your muscles to do something they’re not used to. Keep practicing until your movements start to feel more accurate and precise.

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