With the warmer temperatures, extra hours of sunlight, and an increase in vitamin D, summer is a great time to get outside, get active and take part in the new Alzheimer Society of Ontario’s #summerchallenge! While you’re out there getting your body moving, don’t forget to give your brain a workout too!
Research shows that keeping your brain active can help to reduce the risks of Alzheimer’s Disease and other dementias. Exercising your brain is simple, free, and gives you incredible benefits. Let’s take a look at three great ways to flex your brain cells!
- Neurobic exercises
Neurobics is the science of brain exercise, with the aim of helping you to hold on to memories while also being able to absorb new information. To get the most out of neurobics:
- Stimulate your senses in a new way
- Utilize your emotions and engage with other people
- Find a way to break your usual routine
Try brushing your teeth with your opposite hand. Put some coins in your pocket, and try to determine the denominations just by feeling them. Go inside and pay the gas station attendant instead of paying at the pump. Practices like these will encourage your brain to make new connections.
2. Read out loud
While reading is itself a fabulous activity that exercises your brain on different levels, reading out loud kicks the cerebral workout up a notch.
Reading utilizes visual pathways to make memory links but reading out loud creates a layer of auditory pathways, which helps us to remember things better. In addition to pathway creation, reading aloud sharpens focus, increases your vocabulary, and leads to greater comprehension – all of which help to strengthen your brain.
3. Practice mindfulness
One of the best things you can do for cerebral health is to stop thinking about yesterday or worrying about tomorrow. The practice of mindfulness is one that exercises our brains in a way we don’t do enough of – by shutting out all external stimuli and being present in the here and now.
Mindfulness meditation is a great way to enjoy the current moment. Find somewhere comfortable to sit upright, ensure there is no noise or other distractions in your space, and simply start focusing on your breath. Take deep breaths in and out, feeling how the air flows through your body. The stillness may feel uncomfortable at first, but try to engage in the exercise for at least a minute.
Mindfulness improves your effectiveness, reduces cortisol levels, and helps with a number of other physical and mental health markers. Mindfulness also helps us to be grateful in the moment, and that positivity leads to an increased benefit to our health and how we look at life.
So, there you have it. Three excellent ways to challenge your brain, learn more about yourself, and get some great benefits out of it all. Neurobics, reading out loud, and mindfulness – which one will you try today? Tweet us, comment on Facebook, or share your thoughts below, and enjoy the #summerchallenge!
Feeling lucky? Enter the Summer Challenge contest on EverythingZoomer.com!