Health-Conscious Series #3 - 20 Ways to Exercise our Brains
There are questions that should be taken into consideration on how to nourish, stimulate and use our brain in a regular basis.
a) Do you sleep 7-8 hours at night?
b) Do you smoke or drink excessively?
c) Do you eat a balance diet everyday?
d) Do you exercise regularly?
If you answer Yes to all items above, then you are truly caring fro your brain. If not, the following recommendations can give you option to recover the good parts that are left on your brain.
The 20 ways will be divided into three important factors to make the brain functioning at excellent level.
1) Healthy Habits - the do's and don'ts on how to care for the brain.
2) Neurobics - neuronal version of aerobics.
3) Strategies - delve on how to use the brain that will promote learning and fast recovery of brain's memory.
Brain Exercises is not only for adults who have difficulties in recalling things, names and events. Infants are also included to enhance their memory. Students who are memorizing and reviewing their lessons for examination.
Whether you're writing a blog, hub or mixture of the two on HubPages, the importance of these tips are for all of us.
Let's begin the brain exercise.
1. Regular Exercise aids the brain to develop thicker gray matter which protects from degeneration because of aging. Exercises can vary from hitting the gym or just moving around the house, like dancing with the music, chasing your pets happily or playing with children. Mental decline will be lessened and other health risks such as: obesity, heart attack, osteoporosis and atherosclerosis. Better oxygen supply results to better mental efficiency.
2. Stress Management involves the field on Physoneuroimmunology where modern-day doctors explains that emotions and thoughts have effects on health. These are communicated in the immune system's organs like spleen, thymus and lymph nodes. So, whatever your thoughts and emotions are, these are communicated in the aforementioned organs which may sap or boost your performance. We cannot say we are always stressed out by not knowing which part of the brain is affected. Hippocampus is a primitive structure in the brain which plays the largest role in facilitating memory. When stress evades us, our body releases vortisol which can damage the hippocampus if the stress is unrelieved.
3. Good Sleeping Habit involves the elementary reminder of having a 7-8 hours of sleep to give brain cells a chance to restore. Hitting the snooze button at the right time gives a person alertness, concentration and good memory. Overdoing things can slow down our brain waves for months. Deprivation of sleep will sap our energy and will result to poor memory.
4. Abstinence on Smoking and Alcohol will make us smarter than those who are addicted to such vices. Alcohol can kill brain cells (neurons are irreplaceable) while nicotine constrict the arteries that deliver oxygen to the brain.
This is a very interesting thing. We only exercise the external aspect of our body through aerobics. The brain could also have its highlights by doing NEUROBICS to aid sensory stimulation. Doing neurobics helps in releasing neutrophins, which improve the brain at the cellular level. Challenging yourself to break your routines can activate those neural circuitry that were not use before.
5. If you're right-handed, be left-handed once in a while. You can brush your teeth with your left hand. Or you can comb your hair with your left hand. Try writing on your left hand and let's see the result. Non-dominant hand can stimulate rarely-used connections in the non-dominant side of the brain.
6. Stimulate your senses. Close your eyes and hear the sounds your hear. Appreciate the chirping of the birds in the morning. Savor what you eat by closing your eyes, inhaling the aroma and appreciating its taste.
7. Enhance your brain by learning new skills. Try learning a new language, let's say Greek or German. Solve puzzles, compose songs or learn a new cuisine. These are few examples that you can try to manage your brain by doing some reprogramming.
I wrote a hub that "we are what we eat." The kind of food you eat, determines your personality----and your brainpower. If you avoid eating fruit, vegetable and fish, you better love them because these contain nutrients that are scientifically-proven to sharpen brain function.
Here's what you should do.
8. Eat Green leafy vegetables, legumes, fruits and soy beans. Broccoli, spinach, asparagus are among the 'greens' you should frequently eat. Melons, strawberries and citrus fruits can replenish your drained energy. Soybeans and other legumes can contribute vitamins B6 and B12 plus folic acid that fight off homo-cysteine (an amino acid) which is harmful to the nerve cells. Those vegetables, fruits and legumes are necessary for the formation of red blood cells, that carry oxygen to the brain.
9. To prevent free radicals in our body, eat berries, root crops (potatoes), fruits (tomatoes, mangoes, cantaloupes), green vegetables (broccoli, spinach) and drink green tea and coffee plus seeds (peanuts, sunflower). Free radicals are like rust in our bodies,while antioxidants act like magnets that attract them to prevent damage. Free radicals scavenge your body to grab or donate electrons from individual cells until they manage to affect your genetic material (DNA) and cause abnormal growth and reproduction in cells. These ' grabbing and donating' activities could be responsible for visible signs of aging, as researchers believe. Vitamins C and E and Beta-carotene can neutralize diseases and abnormal cell function and can help in maintaining oxygen flow to the body and brain.
10. Be a Fish-aholic. Instead of consuming meat rich in saturated fats and trans fats that are responsible for bad cholesterol, eating fish with abundant Omega-3 fatty acids can prevent and reduce bodily inflammation and high cholesterol deposits in the arteries. Best sources for Omega-3 are salmon, tuna, mackerel and herring.
11. Take multi-vitamin capsules and other supplements. If we are not eating sufficient quantities of healthy food on a regular basis, ensure that there will be approved food supplements to ensure getting daily dosage of mind-boosters. However, it's still best to acquire nutrients from natural sources.
Brain strategies to function well should include the following:
12. Pay attention. If you're a student, pay attention to your teacher in order to understand the lesson well. You need 8 seconds of serious focus to enable your hippo campus to encode the information.
13. Know your learning style. Learners are generally categorized into visual, auditory and kinesthetic.Visual learners need to read or see what they should learn. Auditory persons can easily understand the lesson as the teacher speaks. Kinesthetic learners like to manipulate and work with their hands to understand concepts. There are online tests that can determine what kind of learner you are.
14. Always remember the clues. Mnemonics (ne-mo-niks) are clues that can aid in recalling things.
15. Set up your memorization skills. It can be from easy to difficult subjects or vice versa. Memorizing formulas, dates, places, grammar, etc. should be given ample time in order for you to get it all for the exams.
16. Don't cram. Crowding your brain with many ideas at once is a no-no and affects your memory badly. To avoid cramming, you must alternate studying with brief moment of rest to give things a chance to sink in.
17. Wait your brain to recall. Don't force it to remember things in a jiffy. Prime-and-wait method: the initial effort to remember (prime), lets subconscious mental processes to search your memory bank, then you wait for a while and what you want to recall will just pop into consciousness. This is an effective recalling method, especially when taking exams. Answer the easy items first, then proceed to difficult ones.
18. Be positive. We usually remember good things than bad ones. This is because our brains are designed to recall what is good and forget what is bad. Liking all subjects in school will make your remember all of it, from Math, Science or English or History.
19.Use your imagination in reading a book. This is called Eidetic memory. Practice looking at a word or a sentence, then close your eyes and read it using your imagination.
Eidetic imagery will help slow learners to stay focused and can triumph as long as the teachers and parents will cooperate to help you achieve your goal.
20. Have a positive mental attitude. There's nothing wrong in believing yourself that you can do something worthwhile. Expect success in everything you do. This will fuel up your brain to function better than you expect it to be.
Practicing those ways will not only make your smart, but protect you from degenerative illnesses, like Alzheimer's disease when you get older.
Always believe that your brain can function like that of the famous scientist Albert Einstein (genetically gifted to have an IQ level of 160). The brain's motto will be: "Use me or lose me."
Like a muscle, our memory is only strengthened by constant exercises and stimulation.
But don't forget, too much of everything is bad. The usage of brain should be in moderation.
Don't overdo hubbing or blogging. If you can't think of any topic to develop, better give your brain a rest.