You know you can flex your muscles to make a difference in your body’s fitness, but did you know that you can exercise your mental muscles and gain a better memory and more brain power?
When you flex your mental muscles, the brain creates neural pathways to the brain. Some exercises and activities can effectively work the brain in five main cognitive area functions. If you can perform these exercises on a daily basis you can train your mind to become fit and active and your memory recall will increase.
The brain contains the following areas of cognitive recognition:
- Language – This part of our brains is devoted to remembering, understanding and being able to identify words. You can challenge this area of your brain by practicing new languages, increasing your grammatical skills and increasing your vocabulary.
Neuroscience – A system of regions towards the back and middle of your brain help you interpret the text. These include the angular gyrus in the parietal lobe, Wernicke’s area (comprising mainly the top rear portion of the temporal lobe), insular cortex, basal ganglia and cerebellum.
- Attention Span – It’s difficult to focus on something if you’re a multi-tasker. Noises and other distractions can also inhibit your ability to focus your attention. You can help your attention span part of your brain by changing the way you do things. Changing your route to work or any type of routine can awaken your brain and help it pay attention when needed.
NEUROSCIENCE FYI – The Thalamus is located in the center of the brain. It helps to control the attention span, sensing pain and monitors input that moves in and out of the brain to keep track of the sensations the body is feeling.
- Memories – As we age, the memory area of your brain can deteriorate. Sometimes, that’s because of dementia or Alzheimer’s, but most often we simply need to increase our cognitive activities. That includes mental calculations, reasoning powers and reading to remember. Games you play such as crossword puzzles can boost a chemical in your brain called “acetylcholine” which boosts your brain memory skills.
- Executive Function – The part of your brain known as the executive function performs the tasks of helping your logic and reasoning powers. Executive functioning helps you develop strategies to reach goals and other major decisions in your life. Video games are great stimulation for this area of your brain and social interaction can also help.
- Visual-Spatial Skills – Since we live in a three-dimensional world, filled with color and visuals, we must be able to analyze them in order to function without our various environments. Visual-spatial skills are developed by observing what you see in front of your eyes and within your peripheral vision. To develop these skills, look at a picture, turn it over and then write down every object you saw in the picture. It’s a good exercise to help you focus on what’s around you.
Just as you would exercise all your body muscle to gain overall fitness – so you need to stimulate these five areas of the brain to remain mentally sharp and active as you age.
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