Friday, October 20, 2017
 

Flex Your Mind

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We all know that exercising the body can produce health benefits, but can we exercise our brain to make us smarter? It’s easy to dismiss the times when someone has forgotten where they put their car keys, or had difficulty remaining focused at work, but what if there were a way to improve cognitive tasks and boost brain health?

In an article on CNN.com titled, Will These Tricks Make You Smarter?, the author mentioned that a recent report by Harvard Medical School found that exercising your brain with challenging activities (such as strategy games like chess) will improve logical thinking and problem solving and can help build up natural defenses against diseases such as Alzheimer’s. While it’s undetermined whether games that specifically train the brain actually work, there are still many things people can do with their brain that will actually improve their cognitive abilities.

First on the list are games. Desktop games are a great way for people to remember and understand things visually. This type of game also helps with creativity and problem solving. Plus, because most desktop games are for a minimum of two players, it’s a great way to socialize and interact with others as you try to outthink them. If high-tech is what someone prefers, then there are apps and online programs just waiting to be tried that are fun and game-like while still being challenging. If puzzles are more to a person’s liking, then there are ones explicitly designed in conjunction with neuroscientists rather than the traditional crossword or Sudoku puzzle.

Not everyone likes games, so there are tasks that people can do to strengthen their mind. To help with concentration, find a quiet place, eliminate distractions, and focus your attention on just one thing, such as counting backwards from 100, or counting the number of words on a page, or holding an object and focusing on it for as long as possible. If someone doesn’t have much time, then they can read a news article (either in a newspaper or online), or watch an informative video, and then work diligently to commit what was just read or viewed to memory. Later in the day, try and recall this information.

In addition to these brain exercises, it’s also important to eat right, reduce stress, and stay physically active. By working out the entire body -- brain included -- it will help anyone stay at the top of their game.

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