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Mental Health: Give Your Brain a Workout

Giving your brain a workout with daily activities such as puzzles, helps improves areas of your mental health such as concentration, stamina, and focus.
Mental Health: Home Care Spruce Grove
Mental Health: Home Care Spruce Grove

My initial associations with the words, “workout” and “gym” are sweat and pain. This is the type of workout I try to avoid as much as possible. Don’t get me wrong, I acknowledge the invaluable role exercise plays in maintaining overall health. I’m referring, however, to a different kind of workout, one that doesn’t involve stretchy spandex, weights, or exercise machines. This workout is for the brain. Think of your brain like muscle: the more you exercise it, the better it gets. While your brain doesn’t physically grow like muscles do – thank goodness; working your brain improves things like concentration and mental stamina. Neglected or underused muscles can shrink, and similarly, the brain can exhibit signs of decline if not regularly exercised. According to Columbia University Irving Medical Center, “In our 30s and 40s, the brain starts to shrink, with the shrinkage rate increasing even more by age 60.” This article explores ways to keep your grey matter active, and who knows, you might even have some fun along the way.

As you explore your options for your brain work out, it is important to remember to keep your activities enjoyable and varied to consistently stimulate different aspects of your brain. You might also discover that the more enjoyable your engagement is in an activity, the greater the cognitive benefits you’ll likely experience.

Three Reasons Why You Should Exercise Your Brain:

1. Increased Neural Connections:

Learning a new hobby or acquiring a new skill causes the brain to create and reinforce neural pathways. The more connections you build, the more efficiently your brain can process information, leading to improved cognitive health.

2. Attention and Focus:

Regularly engaging in an activity that requires sustained attention and focus builds your mental endurance, which can lead to improvement in your cognitive performance.

3. Memory Enhancement:

Learning new information and skills challenges your memory, promoting the formation of both short-term and long-term memory. This can result in improved recall abilities and overall memory function.

Three Recommended Games That Work the Brain:

1. Lumosity:

Lumosity is a free online “Brain Training” program that consists of over 60 games meant to improve memory, attention, and problem-solving skills. You can create a free account, however, only users with a paid subscription can access all Lumosity games.

*If you don’t like being glued to a screen the next two options may be more your speed*

2. Sudoku:

Sudoku is a true brain game that not only stimulates cognitive abilities but gives you the satisfaction of accomplishing a difficult puzzle. This game of logic, patterns and problem solving has been proven to give you more brain power. According to a recent article by Scientific and Technology News, “Playing Sudoku on a regular basis has proven to be effective in increasing the player’s IQ.”

3. Crossword:

Crossword is a classic game that has been around for years. This game can be a valuable tool for improving cognition by requiring the player to recall words and their meanings, stimulating both short-term and long-term memory.

Like the discipline needed for exercising your muscles, the same applies to exercising your brain. Taking the initiative to begin is a significant first step. Whether you’re 20 or 80, it’s never too late to begin your ‘Brain Training.’ Keep in mind to participate in activities you find enjoyable. Numerous games contribute to brain health; it doesn’t have to be the three mentioned above. Choose what intrigues you, consistently integrate these games into your day, and soon enough, you’ll notice the cognitive benefits unfolding.



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