Thursday, March 05, 2009

The Brain and Fitness Training

One of the things that I love about the Internet: the time I spend each morning doing what I call my "Surfing and Searching"! I am surfing the Web and Searching Google looking for information that might be of interest to the readers of our blog. This morning was one of those lucky mining days for me. Lot of gems were discovered; but this is one I wanted to share here with all of you.

I have written before about the need for anyone who is aging, oops! I guess that would be everyone, to ensure that they are doing what they can to exercise their brain with mental fitness exercises. My body was most happy with thinking that it would be let off the hook for awhile. Take your brain for a fitness walk.

Post by Eric HELP!

You already know the importance of staying physically fit, but did you know it’s just as important to stay mentally fit? Exercising your brain on a regular basis keeps you mentally sharp. More importantly, it can help fight off memory loss and other mental ailments. People of all ages can benefit from following these mental fitness exercises.

1. Use Your Other Hand- Whenever basic tasks become second nature (requiring no concentration,) our brains fail to get any exercise. One way to give your brain a workout is to use your other hand for common tasks. If you’re right handed, try eating with your left hand. Brush your teeth with your other hand too. This might sound easy enough, but you’ll find yourself actually focusing on accomplishing these simple tasks. As a result, your mind gets a good workout.

2. Shop without a List- Sometimes, we make things a little too easy on ourselves. Shopping with a list of everything you need means you can mindlessly coast through the supermarket without lifting a mental muscle. Instead, why don’t you try hitting the store without that list in hand? At the very least, hide the list in a pocket and see how much of it you can remember.

3. Engage in Conversations Each Day- Between social networking and text messaging, does anyone actually have conversations anymore? It’s good to chat it up with friends because it causes you to focus on what others are saying and to instantly think of your response. This exercise works best when you get past meaningless conversation and into deep, insightful discussions.

4. Read New Books- If you usually read fiction, try reading a history book. If you usually read magazines, try picking up the business section of your newspaper. Reading new things expands your mind, giving you a great mental workout.

5. Exercise Your Body-
Physical exercise doesn’t just make you big and strong; it also keeps your brain active. Studies show that regular exercise fights depression, reduces stress, and improves self-confidence. All of these things help your mind operate more efficiently.

6. Change Your Daily Routine-
Remember what I said earlier about when things become second nature, your brain stops working? Keep your mind working by constantly shaking up your daily routine. Maybe you can take a different route to work. Or instead of coming home to relax every day after school, maybe you can join a club that meets weekly. Change it up!

7. Start a Project- Working on a project is good for a couple of reasons: a) It gives you a sense of purpose as you do something productive; b) More importantly, it forces you to focus on completing a large task over a long period of time. Whether you want to build a model car or write a book, a long-term project is essential for mental fitness.

8. Use Your Other Senses- The ultimate goal of mental fitness exercises is to stimulate all of your senses. There are several ways you can do this. For example, as you enjoy your meal, try identifying all of the ingredients as you chew. Or, try eating with your eyes closed without making a mess. If your senses are sharp, your mind will be too.

9. Expand Your Vocabulary- Learning new words doesn’t just make you sound smart in social settings, it keeps your mind fit as well. Try learning a new word every day.

10. Pay Attention to the Tiny Details- When you walk into a room, take notice of the little items that decorate the space. Likewise, when you meet someone, take note of their complete outfit down to the tiniest details. This constant attention to detail means your mind will always be working.

11. Ditch the Calculator- Again, stop making things so easy on yourself. Put your math skills to the test by ditching the calculator. Better yet, get rid of the pencil and paper too. Try solving complex math problems in your head with no help.

12. Play a Game- Who said video games rot your brain? Strategy based games, like Halo, can actually be highly effective at exercising your problem solving skills. Same thing goes for board games. Remember, mental fitness can be fun!

13. Try Multitasking- If you’ve seen the game show Distraction, you know how difficult it can be to perform the simplest tasks when there are other things pulling at your attention. Multitasking is like a full body workout for your brain.