Brain Exercises – How To Boost Your Mental Health

Brain Performance

Brain exercises are important to your mental health and fitness just as physical exercises are to your overall body health. Therefore, doing a variety of exercises can greatly help in enhancing your brain performance.

Most people perform various physical exercises to help in toning and ensuring that their muscles stay in shape, but they rarely think about enhancing the performance of their brain. However, it is likely that most of these people are not aware that some exercises have a huge impact on our brain’s health and that they help in boosting brain power.

Several studies have shown that a single session of doing the right exercise can help in boosting the cognitive abilities as well as enhancing our mental focus[1] than even taking coffee. According to a research on some young adults and teens, performing a 10 to 40 minutes exercise provides your brain with great power.

This is because exercises increase your concentration levels as it enhances the flow of blood to your brain.

The following are 15 exercises that you should consider if you want to enhance your brain performance:

1. Upgraded Squats

Squats might be one of the most common physical exercises, but the latest developments have led to the invention of a more modified one. Studies have shown that the latest squats version helps in improving mental health and is also effective in alleviating any kind of dullness in your brain. This is because this simple but powerful exercise stimulates and energizes your brain cells.

This form of squatting requires you to start by standing normally just as if you are practising a normal squat while your feet should be straight and should maintain a shoulder-width between them. Next, you should grab your left earlobe with the thumb and finger of your right hand, and then repeat the same for your right earlobe and your left hand’s fingers.

Finally, lower down to get into a squat position and inhale, exhale as you stand to go get back to your initial position. Repeat these steps for a few minutes to ensure that you get the desired results.

2. Jumping Jacks

Jumping Jacks

This is another common but important exercise that is usually used as a warm-up exercise before performing major workout regimes. The exercise helps in boosting brain power and ability. This is because jumping jacks boost the flow of blood to the brain as it causes your heart to pump hard and fast.

With the enhanced blood flow to the brain[2], the brain acquires enough energy that keeps it functioning well. Besides, jumping jacks helps in reducing long-term dementia and improving your daily performance.

For this exercise, you need to stand straight with feet placed together and your hands by your side. Then, raise your hands up and jump as you take your feet to the sides and eventually bring them back to the initial position.

3. Challenge Your Brain with Mastery

The processing of learning something new helps in stimulating your brains activity. However, once you master it, you do not stand to gain any mental benefits as your brain has already become efficient at performing the activity.

This means that you need to give your brain new challenges constantly to stimulate and avoid staying in a comfort zone. Therefore, as soon as you master a given challenge, try another one that is in the next level of difficulty. These challenges may include playing chess, learning languages and playing musical instruments.

4. Start Meditating

This is the most popular brain exercise is known to almost all the people. In fact, most top corporations such as General Mills, Apple, Google, AOL, Procter & Gamble encourage their employees to do it. Besides, they also provide structured meditation programs for senior employees.

Meditation is also recommended to soldiers by the US military as it helps them deal with work-related stress and boosts their resilience and cognitive. It also increases their ability to focus.

5. Enjoying a Creative Hobby

Enjoying a Creative Hobby

Taking up a creative hobby offers effects to the brain that are similar to meditation. This means that they protect our brain against ageing and also act as a natural antidepressant. Consequently, these craft hobbies are increasingly becoming popular even though they are not high art.

Some of the common creative hobbies that you can consider include knitting, drawing, reading, music, and crafts. Moreover, you can also try doing home repairs, as this stimulates your neurological system and boosts your mental health[3] and wellness.

6. Start Doing Things the Hard Way

It is advisable to avoid relying on technology so much, but rather depend on your mind to perform certain tasks. Therefore, you can start avoiding using your smartphone for basic mental skills such as math and spelling as well as memorizing your friends’ phone numbers.

Besides, you can avoid relying on the GPS in telling direction or locations and learn to read the map. By applying your innate sense of direction to locate places, you will be enhancing your brain performance.

Furthermore, research has found that the hippocampus, which is the part of the brain that organizes and stores memories, is extremely large. Thus, the brain has the capacity to take this exercise.

7. Running

Running may appear as just a simple physical exercise but it offers great health benefits to your brain and the entire body. According to a research by Australian scientists, running is important to the heart and also to the mind and the brain.

Moreover, the research was also able to reveal strong evidence that running helps in boosting the overall performance of the brain and most importantly the cognitive function. This implies that performing any exercise plan that involves aerobic exercises[4] is beneficial to your brain and the overall body.

Therefore, you should try running about a half an hour every day and be keen to observe results in your brain performance.

8. Yoga

 brain Yoga

It is very hard to discuss exercises that enhance your brain without mentioning yoga. This is because it is an ascetic and spiritual discipline that combines certain exercise postures and some meditation procedures.

These postures target specific parts of the body and therefore yoga offers great relaxation and health benefits.

Moreover, studies have shown that practising yoga helps in improving brain vitality and boosting your memory.

There are several types of yoga depending on the specific areas targeted by the exercise postures. However, the most effective yoga in enhancing brain performance is the one with the shoulder stands as it highly boosts the supply of the blood to the brain. The improvement of the supply of blood to the brain helps in boosting the brain cells and enhancing the memory of the person while also offering more energy.

The other yoga pose that is beneficial in sharpening the memory and increasing brain power is the intense forwarding bending pose. This is because it causes the blood to pump hard and fast to your brain and thus boosting its function.

Therefore, including certain yoga poses in your regime can greatly help in enhancing your brain performance.

9. Breathing Exercises

Breathing exercises are a common practice that is used in calming our brains or relieving mental pressure, especially in stressful situations. This is because breathing exercises help you in taking managing things while allowing you a complete authority over your mental reserves.

However, it is also important to understand that holding and releasing your breadth slowly helps in stimulating the brain activity. This creates frequent electrical impulses that boost your brain’s energy significantly.

For this exercise, you should just sit back in a relaxed position, then inhale and hold your breath for some time and then breathe out. You should repeat this procedure until you feel that your brain is functioning normally again.

10. Walking

Brain Walking

If you are unable to cope with vigorous activities like running, then you should try walking. This is because even though it is simple it is one of the most common and effective exercises, offers all round effects to your body. Therefore, the overall body including the brain benefits from a few minutes of normal walking.

In fact, studies have shown that strolling a few times in a week helps adults in boosting their brain power. Besides, it reduces the risks of suffering from mental illnesses such as Alzheimer’s, which leads to memory loss.

The research was also able to prove that adults who had a simple stroll every day performed better on cognitive tests and were sharper than those who did not take part.

11. Perform a Set of Planks

Performing a set of planks does not only allow you to have a full body workout or have perfectly toned legs, but it also provides mental clarity benefits. However, for maximum benefits in enhancing your brain performance, it is advisable to focus your energy on the move as you hold a plank or lie in a plank position.

This exercise helps in relieving stress and clearing your mind of any dull thoughts despite the fact that it requires you to use your brain power to perform it properly. Consequently, it can be used as an effective tool for enhancing the process of meditation.

However, to enjoy the maximum benefits of this exercise, you have to perform it properly. This requires starting by getting on the floor with your face down, then use your forearms and toes to raise your body while keeping your body straight.

Besides, your legs and extended behind you while your abs should be tucked in and your back should be flat. Finally, you should hold your neck and head in a neutral position and then hold this position for a few seconds and repeat the procedure.

12. Take New Routes

Take New Routes

It is good to understand that taking a new route when walking or travelling to a given place help in stimulating your brain by activating the hippocampus and the cortex. On the other hand, commuting or taking on the same route often keeps your brain in an autopilot mode with very little stimulation.

Therefore, it is advisable to take unfamiliar routes when riding, walking or using public transport.

13. Doing Things Backward or Upside Down

Doing or looking at things upside down helps in stimulating the brain. You can start by a simple task like wearing your watch upside down. This stimulates your brain to think hard to figure out the time from the watch. Besides, you can also try to read a book or newspaper upside down, as this will also boost your brain activity.

Finally, you can advance to mastering mirror writing or write backwards. Another thing that you can try is hanging your calendar upside down or using your phone in a similar position.

14. Connecting with Other People

Connecting with different people exposes you to new ideas and alternative ways of looking at things. Therefore, you can enhance your brain’s performance by connecting or spending time with different people.

It is advisable to seek people with different careers, skill sets, interests or those from different cultural or social environments. This is because this offers a great exercise that opens you to new ideas and perspectives and therefore enhances your brain’s performance.

15. Switch Hands

Switch Hands

This exercise involves switching your hands and using a different hand to the one that you are used to when carrying out activities like eating, using your computer mouse and brushing your teeth. The use of your non-dominant hand helps in increasing your brain activity[5], which enhances your brain performance.

However, it is good to understand that it can be very difficult at first and this is the challenge that makes it beneficial to your brain.

Conclusion

Overall, several other exercises that can help in enhancing your brain performance are also available, but the ones mentioned above are among the most effective ones. This is because your brain requires exercises that involve activities that are challenging, complex and novel.

Besides, it is also good to understand that the key to having a healthier and better-performing brain greatly on the number of mentally stimulating activities that you engage it in. This means that you should work on incorporating these brain exercises and use your imagination to come up with other kinds of exercises.

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Author

Contributor : Cognitive Health Digest Staff (Cognitive Health Digest)

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