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New Year, New Brain

7 Ways to Boost Your Brain Power in 2019

Your sister wants to lose weight. Your boss wants to quit smoking. Your cousin wants to get out of debt and repair his bad credit. Sound familiar? It should. They’re the same unmet goals from last year. And the year before.

What would happen if you broke away from the pack of standard “lose,” “quit” and “fix” and instead opted to improve something you’re going to use for the rest of your life? That’s right! You’re going to make 2019 the year you boost your brain power—and we’re going to help!

Here are seven concrete examples of things you can do to improve your brain over the course of the year. Plus, boosting your brain is that the latent consequences may positively impact your life in ways that would likely have been harder if you had set them as goals.

  1. Start exercising.

Research now shows that even light to moderate aerobic exercise improves oxygen consumption, which helps the brain to function better. In the elderly, aerobic exercise—such as walking, bicycling or yoga—has actually been found to reduce brain cell loss.

Bonus benefits: You’ll likely meet new people and lose weight.

  1. Read more.

A new study from Yale University School of Public Health has found that reading books may extend your lifespan by up to two years.

In addition, a 2013 study by researchers from Rush University Medical Center found that reading and other mentally stimulating activities may slow dementia.

Bonus benefits: Reduced stress, improved sleep, enhanced social skills, greater IQ.

  1. Enroll in personal brain training.

One-on-one brain training incorporates immediate feedback, intensity and loading, among other features, to work on brain skills. Effective brain training targets attention, auditory processing, and memory, along with visual processing, logic and reasoning and/or processing speed to make thinking, learning, reading and remembering easier and faster. Because programs are customized, personal brain training works for all ages—children, teens, adults and seniors.

“I enrolled my freshman son in nine months of brain training at LearningRx,” says Dr. Anne Murphy, Associate Professor and Associate Director of the Neuroscience Institute at Georgia State University. “He was struggling academically due to an expressive language disorder, and I was seriously worried he would be asked to leave the high school he loved. We had numerous tutors, but it was clear that he needed more. Things were not ‘sticking’. I was pretty frantic and spent a lot of time researching various programs. As a college Professor with a PhD in Neuroscience, I understand the science behind various ‘rewiring’ programs, although I remained somewhat skeptical. After extensive research, I decided to try LearningRx. At the end of his training, my son’s cognitive skills improved dramatically. One of the best things was that his school performance progressively and consistently improved, and along with it, my son’s confidence level. We went from a solid lower C student to an A/B student. One of my primary areas of research is neuroplasticity so I really should not have been surprised.”

Bonus benefits: Better time management and organization can mean better finances, more time for exercise and fun, and greater productivity at work.

  1. Get social.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, research shows that regular engagement in social activities helps maintain brain vitality. Social activities include emotional support, work, volunteering, travel and participation in clubs.

Bonus benefits: Fewer visits to the doctor, fewer falls, decreased depression and better overall health.

  1. Change your diet.

In addition to ditching foods with ingredients that are bad for you—including sugar, food dye, high fructose corn syrup, MSG and artificial preservatives, among others—there are things you should be adding to your diet to help your brain function at peak performance. A few examples:

A recent study of mice found that poor learners improved their memory and learning ability after eating cinnamon.

Eating healthy foods like salmon, sardines, walnuts and blueberries can boost brain function.

Drinking more water to avoid dehydration can help your brain perform at its best.

Bonus benefits: Most likely, you’ll have more energy, lose weight and sleep better.

  1. Get more sleep.

Adequate sleep helps your brain “clean out” overnight and set memories. It’ll also keep you from living in a “brain fog” the next day.

Bonus benefits: You’ll have more energy to exercise, which is good for your brain and your body.

  1. Learn something new.

There are lots of studies showing that learning a new skill, such as playing the piano or speaking French, can help form new connections in the brain.

In one study from the National Endowment for the Arts, people who learned a second language had sharper memories and better listening skills, as well as greater cognitive flexibility, better problem solving and higher order thinking.

Bonus benefits: You’ll likely meet new people with similar interests.

Make 2019 the year of the brain and you’ll reap the benefits of keeping a “smart” resolution!