Who doesn’t want to boost brain function and improve memory? In fact, healthy brain function is the key to prevent aging. We promise. You know people who are young at heart? These are the folks who never lose their curiosity or interest in exploring new things. If you’re one the the millions of people who prefer sitting on the couch and watching TV, you can be dulling your brain. You definitely don’t want to do that, but what do you have to do to be brain healthy at any age? The three pillars of health that sustain us are physical, emotional, and social. All three of those pillars are based on brain health because your brain is your computer that keeps all of you functioning. Your brain needs emotional engagement to feel happy, physical engagement to be healthy, and social engagement to have connection. All three require a healthy brain.
What are the 5 ways you can boost brain function
- Get you brain moving with play and games
Being physically active means moving your body and exercising. There are dozens of ways to exercise. Some are so easy you don’t need equipment and don’t even have to leave the room. You can even exercise in a chair if you can’t walk. In addition to being physically active to maintain muscle and organ health, you must be mentally active as well. We can’t say it often enough. That mean challenging your brain with a variety of different mind games. We do this every day. Playing games allows you to think new things, practice and learn and feel accomplished without getting a grade. Every human, in fact every animal, needs play to feel joyful. Game playing, both physical and mental, provides that joy and brain stimulation we all need to stay young.
- Explore new activities
Another way to boost brain function is to have some new activities or learn new skills. Learning new skills can be as simple as trying to cook new recipes or mastering a new card game. A few more ways to explore new things might be: Join a book club. Play chess. Start a diary or journal. Travel to some place you’ve never been. Up your game and learn a new language. Plant a garden in a pot in your kitchen.
Exploring new ideas and learning new things improves your brain function because it prevents stagnation of your neural circuits as we mentioned before. The more you stimulate yourself intellectually, the more neural circuits you activate. In turn, the constant activation of neural circuits may help prevent the onset of neurodegenerative diseases. And it’s fun. Remember play is important at any age.
- Learn the technique of elaborative rehearsal
What is elaborative rehearsal, you may well ask. Elaborative rehearsal is a way to more effectively memorize information and maintain it in your long-term memory. By making associations between the new information you’re trying to learn and the information you already know, you’re making your brain process the information in a more in-depth way. This is something students do to remember information they need to know for tests.
But it also works great to keep your mind active when you’re older. By using memory aids—such as grouping, using images, or quizzing yourself on the information you need to learn, or relearn—you are more likely to have a stronger long-term retention rate
- You can boost brain function by visualizing information and concepts
What is visualizing? Here’s an example that links a physical activity with a visual concept that helps you memorize what you’re learning. Some of us are learning Tai Chi. To remember the moves, each step has a name that makes you think of something that’s related to what you’re trying to learn. Imagine: “Parting wild horses mane,” or “Ward off monkeys.” You’re thinking monkeys and making a monkey move. You’re challenging your brain in two ways. And once you link the two (the physical move with the image), you won’t forget either one. Visualizing concepts is a great way to enhance your memory. With this, when you’re presented with information, try to emphasize the visuals, like photographs, drawings, or charts. Or, as in the featured image, the grownup and child are remembering both the image on the card and where it’s placed on the board.
- Food is connected to mood so watch your diet
In addition to the positive relationship between food and mood, our diet plays an important role in our memory, too. That’s why health professionals advise you to follow a diet rich in omega-3, choose food groups that are low in saturated fat, and regularly consume leafy green vegetables. These are full of essential, brain-friendly nutrients. The Mediterranean diet is an example of healthy eating that puts an emphasis on fruits and vegetables, fish, olive oil, avocado, and nuts, while limiting the consumption of red meat.
With the tips mentioned above, you may enjoy the benefits of having a healthy brain and well-functioning memory. If you’re struggling with your memory and brain function, however, consult your doctor to see if you need medication or treatment.