Cognitive brain training involves mentally engaging exercises or activities that challenge your ability to think, feel, and react. It influences your brain positively, maintains or improves your cognition, and helps you function better in your day-to-day life. The terms for cognitive brain training run the gamut: mind teasers, games, mental challenges, education/learning, discovery, intellectual stimulation – and the list goes on!
Can Cognitive Brain Training Improve Brain Fitness?
The brain is a dynamic organ and constantly changes throughout life. However, you can impact how your CNS changes as your age. The brain keeps creating neurons and connections in the neural system across the lifespan. These connections between your neurons also vary in different parts of the brain, including the white and grey matter. Brain training can even affect your emotions too.
Besides, your actions affect neuronal connection development and impact your brain functions, including thinking, attention, language, reasoning, and memory skills. Cognitive brain training over the life course, such as engaging in self-initiated and formal educational activities, can improve your brainpower and maintains your overall health.
Engaging in leisure activities, mentally challenging tasks, and cognitive exercises benefit your brain’s health. Cognitive training maintains your brain’s health and cognitive abilities, including attention, thinking, memory, and reasoning abilities. A growing body of research evidence indicates that such training enhances a person’s cognitive reserve.
How to Improve Brain Function?
Your brain is a three-pound universe with over 100 billion neurons and 500 trillion synaptic actions. It has over 70,000 thoughts per day with a speed of more than 300 miles per hour. It works 24/7 and produces enough electric power to operate a light bulb. Brain training always helps with this.
Besides, it is also one of the most powerful organs in your body, with more power than thousands of supercomputers. The question is: how to improve brain function? We recommend focusing on the following:
- Physical Exercise: walking, running, biking, playing sports, etc.
- Limit sugar and processed foods
- Increase fruits and vegetables
- Lower sodium intake
- Eat healthy fats
- Choose lean sources of protein
- Consume fiber and fluids
- Give up salts
- Take vitamin D
- Herbs and spices with antioxidants
- Quit smoking
- Reduce alcohol intake
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Stay socially connected
- Do crossword puzzles, play chess, card games
- Learn a musical instrument
- Study a new language
Benefits of Cognitive Brain Training
Cognitive brain training offers a wide range of mental health benefits, including decreased stress, social anxiety, improve emotional processing, neurological conditions prevention, increased focus, attention, energy, improved memory, reduced brain fog, and enhanced blood circulation.
Bear in mind that all these benefits of cognitive brain training are connected to neurogenesis, leading to boosted generation and creation of new neuronal connections in your brain. Neuroplasticity is another benefit of cognitive brain training, strengthening synaptic actions, plasticity, and alterations.
Cognitive Training Exercises
You can perform a wide range of cognitive training exercises to challenge your brain. The purpose is to create new neural pathways in your brain and improve your memory, creativity, cognition, and other essential functions. Experts recommend the following!
Practice Fine Motor Exercises
It is crucial to practice fine motor skills, mainly if you have acquired brain injury (ABI). These exercises improve your cognition after a brain injury, leading to neuronal repair and synaptic recalibration. Some of the best fine motor exercises you can perform at home are:
- Therapy putty exercises
- Stacking pennies
- Jigsaw puzzles
- Stretching rubber bands
Draw a Map
Drawing a map of your hometown is an excellent way to challenge your brain and increase memory and cognition. You don’t need to draw a detailed map. All you need is to draw major streets, side streets, roads, and significant landmarks in your city.
After drawing the map, compare it with an actual map. That way, you will know the things you missed drawing on the map. You can also draw your country’s map or continent map if you find the city map seems too easy.
Use Your Non-Dominant Hand
Using your non-dominant hand during day-to-day activities is an excellent way to increase your brain cognitive skills. For instance, you can brush your hair with your left hand instead of using your right hand at least two days a week.
Not only does this engages a different brain side, but it also stimulates your neuron to perform something unique, strengthening your overall brain function. Other cognitive training exercises you can do at home are:
- Sit Outside and Journal
- Picture Recall
- Naming Therapy
- Card Recall
- Color Sudoku
- Tower of Hanoi
- Word Search
Although additional research is needed, some studies show that cognitive brain training and exercises play a crucial role in enhancing a person’s overall brain health. Ensure you consult your doctor before performing these games to ensure you get the most out of them.