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Neuroplasticity -- is it possible to 'upgrade' your brain?

Updated on September 8, 2014

What is Neuroplasticity?

Neuroplasticity is a vague term used to describe the ability of the neural network in a person's brain to change with experience. In essence, this means your brain can somehow be physically changed by exposing yourself to mentally demanding challenges on a regular basis.

Scientists already know that the brain develops up to early adulthood and the only thing you can improve past that point is your knowledge -- which can be done by reading books, attending classes, doing research, and so on. This means you can expand your knowledge but not really improve the way in which you apply or utilize this knowledge (intelligence).

However, there are evidence that suggest the brain continues to develop and create more neural pathways by performing what are now called brain training exercises. Another thing that contributes to the improvement of your cognitive abilities way past your childhood is your diet and your overall health.

Brain power
Brain power | Source

How can I increase my brain power?

Brain fitness is a term involving anything that is related to your brain power. It takes into account how active your brain is, how much rest you give it, what kind of food you supply it with, and how much knowledge you put into it. All three types of your memory also play an important role in how well your brain will perform.

To summarize it all, brain training focuses primarily on the following "areas" of a person's intellectual capabilities:

  • Memory (Sensory memory, short-term memory, and long-term memory)
  • Focus (Attentiveness, reflexes, etc.)
  • Concentration (Your ability to see through a task from start to finish)
  • Logic (Problem-solving skills, reasoning, etc.)

As far as knowledge goes, your only hope is to keep on learning from all sources such as books, online articles, instructional videos, other people, and most importantly -- experience.

Brain Diet

Another important concept of brain fitness is the physical well-being of your brain and body. To help keep your mind sharp and away from decline, you will need to engage in physical exercises accompanied by what are called "Brain Super-foods"

You may not be ready yet to commit to a permanent change in your diet for something you still haven't experience firsthand. In case you want to try out a brain-friendly diet, here is a list of the top brain foods:

  1. Fish
  2. Walnuts
  3. Broccoli
  4. Beet
  5. Blueberries
  6. Coffee

Brain training exercises

As a treat for you, here is a simple brain training exercise you can do right this very moment. It's rather simple and trains your concentration. It's called the "reverse counting exercises".

  1. Count down from 100.
  2. Count down from 100 while only counting odd numbers.

That's about it. As simple as this exercise can be, it can be used to collect your mind in times of confusion and an overload of tasks. It's a good strategy to "warm-up" your brain in preparation for the daily challenges in your day.

Today, brain fitness has established a market for people all over the world. You can find websites that offer free brain training exercises as well as tools to help you track your progress and see significant results. Of course, there are also premium websites that offer these services for a price. However, you might as well check out the free stuff some brain training websites have to offer first.

Here is a list of both paid and free websites that offer brain training exercises:

  1. FitBrains
  2. NeuroNation
  3. Lumosity
  4. Brain Metrix

Neuroplasticity made simple by Phil Parker, Phd

Conclusion

So does this prove that there is a way for humans to sharpen their mind and somehow increase intelligence? No -- at least not for you. There's already significant evidence that mental challenges as well as physical health plays an important role in the performance of a person's brain as well as its resistance to cognitive decline. Of course, the results vary, and the only way for you to find out is to try it yourself. What's there to lose anyway?

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