One of the most amazing parts of your body and perhaps the one most taken for granted- your brain- needs some exercises for better brain function.
The brain uses the most amount of the body’s energy, compared to any other part, i.e., around 20%. And this energy is utilized to carry on overall body functions like - how you see the world, how you respond to things around you, the smell and aromas, hearing and listening, dreams and nightmares, feelings of hunger and eating food, and perform complex calculations like cognitive tasks and others. The brain also utilizes this energy for sending signals via the neurons and for maintaining the cell’s health.
The brain does all of this and so much more for the body, and people tend to only think about its health when its functions start to falter. Stress, trauma, aging, organic disorders, or neurological illnesses can lead to problems like memory loss, difficulties in performing cognitive functions, and other basic tasks.
While some significant factors affecting brain health occur with age, some are genetic or caused due to surroundings. And, whether or not your brain is healthy, it is imperative to work on improving the brain’s health and functions. Here are some dos and don’ts- to keep your mind young and healthy forever.
1. Mental Stimulation
Brain activities stimulate new connections between nerve cells and help the brain develop new brain cells. Developing new cells can help at the times of cell losses.
Different types of activities which require manual dexterity and mental efforts can help the brain build up. Mental gymnastics like crosswords, math problems, or puzzles and other tasks like learning a new language, reading, drawing, painting, listening to music, such activities performed on a regular basis can help brain train.
Meditation helps improve concentration and memory. Meditation helps the brain to remain calm during an intense and stressful situation. This, in turn, avoids over-stressing and allows the mind to think more clearly and broadly.
3. Quality sleep
Sleep gives the human brain time to reset, remove the blinders, and be prepared for the next day. While your body sleeps and recovers from the physical strain, the brain is still working on understanding the day's process, the information grasped and the tasks of tomorrow. However, if you’re sleep deprived, your brain functions remain slow the following day, and the information take-in doesn’t happen as expected. To perform well and benefit from sleeping, at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep is advised for adults.
4. Healthy diet
The food you eat provides for the fuel; the brain needs to make neurotransmitters, enzymes, nerve linings, and more. Several foods are good for the brain. Green vegetables, proteins from meat and pulses, whole grains, nuts, fruits, omega three fatty acids from fish oil, green tea, etc. are all that increases brain function.
Limiting your intake of caffeine, junk, red meat, etc. is also advisable.
5. Physical Exercise
Regular physical training has benefits for both the brain and the body. Increased level of creativity, lesser mood swings, decreased the risk of Alzheimer’s and Cancer, performance enhancement, and stress-busting are some of the amazing benefits of regular physical exercises. And the best part is, simple activities like aerobics, gymnastics, walking, cardio, and weight training if you like it, all contribute towards better brain health.
6. Maintaining Good Relationships and Being Social
Being social and being around people whose company you enjoy is also a great way to keep your brain active and working. While most people like spending their time binge-watching TV series and avoiding company, in general, is not good for their overall well-being.
Interacting with people, listening, responding, understanding, and paying attention, keeps your brain functioning. It keeps you away from depression and stress, and also keeps anxiety at bay.
Most people, lives are busy and stressful. But, to be able to enjoy each day and give your best, your brain has to remain healthy. Health is indeed wealth. Incorporating activities like cardio, running, or walking, for just half an hour a day will give your brain heart a boost. Include activities like taking up a new hobby, reading, playing an instrument, improving social connections, etc. can help majorly in keeping your mind actively engaged.
7. Avoid Tobacco Products and Limit alcohol
Avoid tobacco in all its forms. Tobacco or any other drug abuse results in a reduction of brain activity leads to a rise in blood pressure and heart rate, dizziness, headache, coughing, and other such symptoms. Long term use of these products can have serious side effects on the brain and other body parts like the nervous system, lungs, and heart.
Alcohol consumption also has similar side effects. Excessive drinking can cause dementia. However, if you must drink, limit your intake to two drinks a day.
Years of researches and studies have proved that brains can be trained to improve their function and performance. If ‘how to improve my brain function,’ is still a question in your mind, then get started with a few of these tips mentioned above, and see how they impact your brain. Train your brain, feed it well, give it time to rest, and repeat. Playing a few puzzles a day is how you can test brain function and improve it all together. It’s never too late to start.
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