5 Healthy Brain Tips You Can Apply Now
Although it’s generally believed that Polish neuroscientist Jerzy Konorski coined the term “plasticity” in 1948 to describe the brain’s ability to experience permanent functional transformations, it wasn’t until the 1990s that the scientific community began really understanding the amazing implications of “neuroplasticity.”
Perhaps you are a career or senior adult looking for ways to stay sharp. Or maybe you are the parent of a child who is struggling with reading or learning. It’s possible that you (or someone you love) is struggling with one or more core cognitive skills.
Whatever the struggle may be, the fact remains that there are things we can do that can impact how well our brain performs, and that is very good news, indeed.
Here are some healthy brain tips and activities:
Healthy Brain Tip #1: Exercise regularly.
There’s mounting evidence that physical fitness is one of the best gifts you can give your brain. Even light to moderate aerobic exercise improves oxygen consumption. Plus, aerobic exercise has been found to reduce cell loss in the elderly. If you’re obese, even losing a few pounds can improve your thinking skills.
Healthy Brain Tip #2: Feed your brain.
Proper nutrition isn’t just for your waistline. Unhealthy foods can create “brain fog,” while healthy foods—like salmon, sardines, nuts, avocados, and blueberries—can help keep your brain sharp.
Like many body organs, the brain operates best when blood glucose is stable. Lack of concentration and other mental lapses can readily occur when blood glucose levels dip or surge. Ways to keep glucose stable include:
- Eating complex carbohydrates instead of simple sugars
- Balancing carbohydrates by eating them with small amounts of protein, beneficial fats, and fiber
- Snacking throughout the day instead of consuming giant meals
- Eating breakfast
Healthy Brain Tip #3: Get quality sleep.
While lack of sleep is an obvious detriment to attention and memory skills, poor sleep quality—caused by issues like sleep apnea—can cause more long-lasting cognitive problems.
The brain accomplishes a long list of tasks while you sleep, including clearing out toxic molecules that build up during waking hours, transforming short-term memories to long-term, and even making creative connections.
And while caffeine can provide a cognitive boost, no amount can rival the work your brain does while you sleep.
Healthy Brain Tip #4: Get social.
There’s mounting evidence that social interaction is good for maintaining the brain into our later years.
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.
A 2001 study analyzing the impact of professionally conducted cultural programs on adults over 65 found that opportunities to participate and attend ongoing cultural activities (singing, painting, and poetry reading, for example) had healthy and encouraging benefits, including:
- better overall health
- fewer visits to their physician
- rate of need for medication decreased
- fewer falls
- vision problems diminished
- a significant decrease on the Geriatric Depression Scale.
The general consensus? Maintain your friends, relationships, and activities and you’ll maintain your brain health.
Healthy Brain Tip #5: Learn something new.
Forget the “old dog, new trick” adage. Studies show that even in our senior years, learning a new language, skill, or hobby can help keep our brains active.
Tackle Cognitive Struggles with Brain Training
If someone is struggling to perform well in school, work, or life as a result of learning, reading, memory, or attention challenges, these struggles are usually caused by one or more weak cognitive skills. We rely on cognitive skills for just about everything we do.
One-on-one brain training is a form of cognitive training that uses customized mental exercises, done one-on-one with a personal trainer, to target and strengthen weak skills.
This is how you address the root cause of any sort of learning or cognitive struggle.
If you or someone you love is struggling, the first step is to find out why. A one-hour Brain Skills Assessment can pinpoint specific cognitive strengths and weaknesses and help you decide on the next best step.
We will be able to walk you through tailored, 1-on-1 options that are geared toward maintaining brain skills that are already on-point, and targeting weak skills to make them stronger. Our programs have helped more than 100,000 children and adults learn easier, think faster, and perform better (in-Center and online testing and training options available).
If you would like to learn more about LearningRx or you’d like to schedule an in-person or online Brain Skills Assessment, give us a call today! (719) 264-8808