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Five Mental Exercises To Keep
Your Brain Healthy

By Indy Summers

A tremendous amount of focus has been paid to the how-to and benefits of staying physically fit, which is of course important information and practices. However, even the most ardent exercise junkies often forget that health isn’t a one dimensional goal of physical activity. The flip side of overall healthiness is becoming mentally fit.

The Importance of Mental Fitness

The brain is the body’s mental muscle. Just as the biceps get weak and perform poorly if not exercised, the brain becomes weak and poorly performing if it’s not exercised. Just as physical fitness has both short-term and long-term health implications, mental fitness impacts your health both now and later on a broad scale.

In the here and now, mental fitness can improve and prevent mental health issues like anxiety and depression.

With age, mental fitness can help slow the decline of dementia and Alzheimer’s. Systemic responses, such as hypertension’s relationship with stress, can be improved with mental fitness.

Becoming mentally fit can boost your memory, cognition, and overall mental strengths, too. The importance of mental fitness is clear, but how do you go about getting mentally fit?

5 Ways to Improve Mental Fitness

Mention brain fitness, and a lot of people automatically envision endless math equations and Jeopardy marathons. In reality, keeping your brain fit is far less tedious and daunting. Here are five simple and fun mental fitness exercises:

  1. Meditation
    The engine behind meditation is the brain. Whether it’s via focus or refocus, the objective is to train your mind to react in healthy ways. This includes problem solving, mindfulness, positive thinking, understanding, and acceptance. Several studies have found that meditation can reduce the damaging stress hormone cortisol and increase the gray matter in the brain.

    Meditation can also help rid unproductive mental habits, such as multitasking, negative thinking, and worrying about unchangeable facets of life. Positive affirmations have been shown to be a key element in mental proficiency. Multitasking and excessive worry have an opposite effect in that they lower concentration, create more problems, and lower productivity.

  2. Take Advantage of New Experiences
    According to the Alzheimer’s Association, new activities can create new brain cells and keep your brain healthy longer. If you’ve never learned to swim, get a quote from custom pools Las Vegas for a new pool. If you’ve never visited other places, then go travel and soak in other cultures, people, and cities.

    New experiences and wellness adventures don’t have to be grand scale, of course. For everyday exercises, it can be as simple as taking an alternative route to a destination, trying a new food, or doing an everyday task in an altogether different way.

  3. Read More Often
    It’s surprising how many people have an aversion to reading. Yet, reading is an excellent mental exercise that simultaneously ignites multiple areas of the brain. As each word is read, the brain must first recognize it and then process it for meaning. Meanwhile, the brain is taking the context of the words and forming imaginative and creative scenarios.

    Join a book club. Make the library a stop when running weekly errands. The great thing about reading is that reading sources are plentiful, cheap, and highly accessible to almost everyone.

  4. Mental Games
    From reasoning and logic to creativity, this is another exercise that activates multiple regions of the brain. Logic, reason, and trivia games like crosswords, sudoku, card, and board games are great options. Even video games have been found to boost mental agility, attention, and reaction. Try to incorporate both single-play and multiplayer games weekly.
  5. Journaling
    This is a portal to be one with your own thoughts whilst also gaining the visual satisfaction of seeing those thoughts recorded. Memory and language sharpening comes from the manual writing process of creating strokes for letters instead of merely touching a key on digital devices.

    Many describe journaling as cathartic since it allows a space for the overflow of emotions that may not have any other acceptable form of release. Set aside a time each day, and ensure that the journaling space is free of distractions.

In conclusion, mental exercises like puzzles, journaling, reading, new experiences, and meditation can greatly improve the function and healthy well-being of the brain. This is especially true when combined with a nutritious diet and healthy sleep schedule. The above five exercises take little time, and they can be as fun and relaxing as you commit to them being. Don’t forget that mental exercises must be done regularly to make a lasting impact.

Indy Summers is a freelance writer interested in fashion, healthy living, and fitness. She has worked as an esthetician, as a personal trainer, and as a freelance model for several years. As such, she considers herself an expert in these industries and all topics related to them.

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