Want to keep your brain from going old? Then try neuroplasticity exercises.
Scientists used to believe that the brain stopped growing and developing sometime after childhood. This is where that adage “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” comes in. The idea was that older people could not learn like younger people could.
However, this is not actually true. Older people can grow new neural pathways and learn just like children if they exercise their brain.
The concept of neuroplasticity is that the neurons in the brain can change and grow if you activate them. Using neuroplasticity exercises can help improve your brain function by strengthening existing neurons and building new neural pathways in the brain.
Exercising your brain is just like exercising your body. “Use it or lose it” is the mantra. Try these neuroplasticity exercises and techniques to keep your brain active and healthy:
1. Play Brain Workout Games
With modern technology, training your brain to grow is really easy and can be done with an app. Brain game companies like Lumosity provide lots of options for improving memory and cognition, many with free options.
2. Try Meditation
Meditation is a great way to help improve your mind. It also has emotional benefits as well, and can reduce anxiety and depression. Switch up the types of meditation you do to help challenge your brain even more.
You can add even more brain boosting power to your neuroplasticity meditation practice by adding pranayama to it. Pranayama is the yoga word for “breathwork.” By focusing on breathing patterns, you can help calm the mind, which helps make meditation easier. The breathwork will also help grow new neurons.
Bonus! Some types of pranayama, such as alternate nostril breathing, are designed to balance the left and right hemispheres of the brain.
3. Use Your Non-Dominant Hand
Using your non-dominant hand to do tasks can help stretch your brain power. Give it a try!
4. Switch Up Your Regular Routine
Along with switching to your non-dominant hand, try changing up your routine. This could be as simple as finding a different path for your daily walk. Exploring new locations is a great way to help keep your brain fresh and sharp.
5. Restrict Your Senses Temporarily
Of course, you only want to restrict your senses when it is safe to do so. However, trying this exercise can help sharpen the mind. For example, try taking a shower with your eyes closed – provided your balance is good and you can do so safely and without falling.
6. Activate Two or More Senses at Once
An opposite technique is to activate more than one sense to help challenge the brain. An example of this would be to smell a fragrance while listening to something at the same time.
7. Get Some Exercise
Physical exercise is proven to help brain function and can help stimulate neuron growth. Even just taking a walk can be beneficial for the brain. Just remember to mix it up regularly to keep challenging your mind even more.
8. Listen to Binaural Beats Audio
Binaural beats audios use special sound frequencies to stimulate brain waves. You can find many free binaural beats audios online on websites such as DailyMotion. Binaural beats audios work best when you listen to them with headphones on.
9. Play Some Challenging Board Games
Instead of zoning out in front of the television with your family after dinner (which definitely won’t help with your neuroplasticity), turn off the boob tube. Play some challenging board games with your family to help grow some new brain cells.
10. Think About Stuff
Believe it or not, simply choosing to think can be a neuroplasticity exercise! Many people these days are used to letting outside inputs do the “thinking” for them. If you are glued to your smartphone or Facebook much of the day, and not getting solo thinking time in, you could be hurting your neuroplasticity.
Turn off your electronic devices and spend some time thinking about an issue without any distractions. This actually might be challenging at first, especially if you don’t like being alone with your thoughts. However, in the long run, it will be well worth it.
Neuroplasticity Exercises Can Help Keep Your Brain Young
The great thing about neuroplasticity exercises is that they are relatively easy to do and help keep your brain young and healthy. Many of the exercises are also free to do and just require some conscious choice on your part. So, what are you waiting for? Get out there and exercise your noggin!