The human brain contains nerve cells called neurons connected by synapses that carry information and signals from one neuron to the other. Like other organs and muscles, the brain changes with age, leading to slower synapses, shrinking mass, and cell death.
However, advances in neuroscience and brain imaging coupled with a growing body of research evidence show that not all central nervous system (CNS) changes are inevitable or genetically predetermined. Research shows that the brain responds to exercise, and that’s why scientists come up with a new word called “Neurobics” or Brain Aerobics.
Neurobics is a term used for mental exercises that activate different parts of the brain, reducing CNS degeneration, reverse memory loss, and improve overall mental agility. In today’s article, we will give you a list of evidence-based brain exercises to boost your entire CNS system. Read on!
The Jigsaw Puzzle
A 2018 research study shows that the jigsaw puzzle improves cognition and protects visuospatial aging. For instance, when you put together a 500-piece image of the Empire State Building or 50 pieces to make Donald Duck, it engages your brain the entire time and lets you work on the puzzle. As a result, the synaptic mechanism in your brain improves significantly. Thus, it is the best exercise to activate and strengthen your left brain.
If you want to strengthen your brain and enhance its cognitive and learning abilities, make sure you focus on learning and building vocabulary. Research shows that learning vocabulary is an excellent exercise that stimulates the entire brain. It will also boost your memory.
The study highlights that it stimulates your brain regions, including parts in the right and left brain, to boost your neurons that control cognitive functions and auditory processing. Neurologists and psychologists recommend:
- Keeping a notebook when you read and write
- Write down a few unfamiliar words and look for definitions
- Use these words at least five times for the next few days
Listen to Music
Listening to music is an excellent brain aerobic exercise that increases your CNS creative power. A 2017 research study concludes that listening to relaxing music trigger your brain, releasing mood-enhancing hormones, including serotonin, dopamine, and endorphins. At the same time, it suppresses cortisol, a hormone that causes stress. Besides, playing instruments like guitar, drums, and piano, can also boost your brain’s creative abilities.
Yoga and Meditation
Yoga is a holistic health approach that connects your mind, body, and spirit. It focuses on physical postures, meditation, and deep breathing exercises, leading to improved overall physical health and mental wellbeing. For instance, daily meditation can calm your mind, optimize your breathing, and reduce stress levels.
A growing body of research evidence shows that meditation can fine-tune your memory and improve your brain processing capabilities. We recommend finding a serene, quiet place in your home, sit comfortably, close your eyes, and spend 5-10 minutes imagining pleasant things in your life.
Moreover, the standing forward bend is a yoga pose that supplies oxygenated and nutrient-rich blood to your brain, improving your CNS power, cognition, and memory processing neurons. Other yoga poses you can practice daily to enhance your brainpower are:
- Lotus pose
- Diamond pose
- Seated forward bend
- Child’s pose
- Plow pose
- Peacock pose
- Half spinal twist pose
Practicing visual arts activities, such as painting, drawing, calligraphy, and putting things down on paper, is an excellent exercise to stimulate your right brain. Not only do visual arts shut off your conscious thoughts, but they also improve your creative skills, making them part of your subconscious mind.
Brain teasers, such as visual, math, and puzzles, are cerebral exercises that stimulate your left brain, improving your number, language, reasoning, scientific, and speaking skills. Not only are brain teasers fun-based exercises, but they also train your left hemisphere to enhance logical thinking and cognitive skills. Some of the best brain teasers recommended by psychologists are:
- Blue and red balls in a bag
- Ten coins puzzle
- Hell or heaven puzzle
- Defective ball puzzle
- Frog and well puzzle
- River crossing puzzle
The brain is the central organ in the human body that controls all other organs, muscles, tissues, and cells. It contains neurons, cells that create synapses to communicate with each other and regulate bodily functions. A strong brain or CNS is vital to overall health and wellbeing. Practice the exercises or brain aerobics given above to improve your psychological health.