Monday, September 07, 2009

Simple ways to give your brain a workout

The human brain

Image via Wikipedia

Here is a simple exercise that we can all do which will strengthen neural connections and even create new ones.

Switch the hand you are using to control the computer mouse. Use the hand you normally do NOT use.  Is it harder to be precise and accurate with your motions?  If you are feeling uncomfortable and awkward don’t worry, your brain is learning a new skill.

Try other neural building and strengthening exercises with everyday movements. Use your opposite hand to brush your teeth, dial the phone or operate the TV remote.

Try to include one or more of your senses in an everyday task. Get dressed or wash your hair with your eyes closed.

Break your routine. Go to work on a new route, eat with your opposite hand. Shop at new grocery store.

Walking is especially good for your brain, because it increases blood circulation and the oxygen and glucose that reach your brain. Walking is not strenuous, so your leg muscles don't take up extra oxygen and glucose like they do during other forms of exercise. As you walk, you effectively oxygenate your brain. Maybe this is why walking can "clear your head" and help you to think better. Studies show that in response to exercise, cerebral blood vessels can grow, even in middle-aged sedentary animals.

Studies of senior citizens who walk regularly showed significant improvement in memory skills compared to sedentary elderly people. Walking also improved their learning ability, concentration, and abstract reasoning. Stroke risk was cut by 57% in people who walked as little as 20 minutes a day.

When the cognitive abilities of elderly women were compared, those who walked regularly were less likely to experience age-related memory loss and other declines in mental function.

Information taken from

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Joy said...

I've heard that about trying to use the opposite hand. From what I read it only worked if you are right handed. People who are left handed already end up using their right hand a lot because the world was built for righties. My youngest daughter is left handed when she writes and eats, but she throws a ball righthanded. It's crazy.
I didn't realize that beef was so expensive up there. I guess I'm spoiled living here in Texas with the ranches and cattle.


Cicero Sings said...

My Mom walked all the time and I chock that up to her relative good health at 95. She has memory loss now but I often wonder if she lost some interest when she lost most of her sight due to macular degeneration.

Danielle Says Hello said...

What a great website!! I have bookmarked it but also used some information on it as one of my first posts for Dysfunction Junction!! Thanks Berni!!!