Many people believe that our brains rapidly deteriorate with age. While this may seem true at a cultural level, it is not the case biologically.
Culturally, we have been taught this. We also tend to get into a steady daily routine and stop learning new things as we age. Sadly, this can cause brain deterioration. Biologically, however, our brain’s have the capacity and excitement to continuously grow as we get older and expose them to new things.
We can use brain training exercises to ensure that our brains continue to function optimally, despite their inevitable movement through time.
How brain training can make your brain more neuroplastic
Neuroplasticity isn’t some strange type of Play-Doh-like toy for children (although it should be). Neuroplasticity refers to our brain’s innate ability to reorganize, strengthen, and form new neural pathways in order to respond to the needs of now.
Every time we learn something new, our brain creates new neural pathways in order to hold on to that new information. The more easily a brain is able to learn new skills and store new information, the more neuroplastic it’s said to be.
Our brains function in the same way our muscles do — they get stronger with proper training. So, by doing neuroplasticity exercises regularly, we are actually able to increase our brainpower tenfold.
You can literally train your brain to rewire itself into becoming stronger, quicker, and smarter. Below are a series of exercises you can begin doing, right away, to increase the plasticity and strength of your brain.
Train your brain with these neuroplasticity exercises
Switch it up
You can train your brain to build new neural pathways by simply switching the hand you normally use to do simple activities. This simple act of using the opposite hand forces your brain to expand and form new neural pathways.
Are you right-handed? Try brushing your teeth with your left hand.
This neuroplasticity exercise will quickly become easier and easier and you notice how impressively plastic and adaptable your brain really is.
By following the same routines every day, our brain’s become lazy and stiff within their comfort zone. The idea is to keep your brain on its feet — seek novelty. Whether this novelty comes from taking a new route to work, traveling to a different country, hanging out with new people, listening to something intellectually stimulating, or just going to a new restaurant, your brain will greatly benefit from building these new neural pathways.
Unfortunately, our minds are usually on autopilot, thinking our normal thoughts — either dwelling on the past or anticipating the future.
Turn off the autopilot. By waking up to the present moment we finally become aware of everything that is always around us. The coolness of the grass, the songs of the birds, and the scents in the breeze – all this also helps us train our focus and self-awareness.
Learn a new skill
Even the smallest deviations from your everyday norm increase your brain’s neuroplasticity. Learning a new skill (such as a new language or a musical instrument) increases that neuroplasticity even more. These exciting new skills really encourage your brain to shake things up and get your neurons firing and wiring in productive and healthy ways.
One of the most evident inhibitors of neuroplasticity is chronic stress. Chronic stress has extremely toxic effects on the brain and its ability to function properly. You can try these stress reducing activities, as well as getting plenty of exercise, meditating, and fostering better, more positive relationships in your life.
Get enough sleep and proper nutrition
Adequate sleep may just be the most essential ingredient for neuroplasticity. Sleeping helps to store new information, solidify new connections, form new memories, and clear the brain so that it can begin to absorb new information.
As well, proper nutrition plays a vital role in the health and plasticity of your brain. Be sure to get enough magnesium, choline, and omega 3’s. As well, these edible memory boosters are great for improving your brain power.
Play brain training games
Getting hooked on a fun brain training game is a sure-fire way to rewire your brain to think and operate much more efficiently. You can find a fantastic, wholesome list of brain training games here.
Do you have any favorite brain training exercises? Share with us in the comments below!