Brain Fitness: Train Now, Regret Never

By Hailey Keller
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Move your finger left to right. Now raise your eyebrows up and down. Think of your favorite movie and quote a line to a friend. Now try to remember where you put your keys. Pass a soccer ball, do a yoga pose, play a video game. On and on and on. Do you ever stop what you're doing and think about how you're doing it? Do you realize that every motion, feeling and thought generates from one source? The brain is miraculous, mysterious and extremely powerful, but it is also very fragile. Depression, stress, diet, exercise, head trauma, disease and simple lack of use all affect the brain in different ways.

Brain health, brain power, brain training, brain fitness. Neuroscientists and psychologists continue to spread the word that exercising your brain, as you would exercise your body, is crucial for developing cognitive abilities and maintaining mental health. Brain games and puzzle stores, such as Marbles: The Brain Store, Lumosity and Fat Brain Toys, offer physical and online games that you can play to increase your cognitive abilities and brain fitness level. Studies have shown that if you indulge your brain in brain fitness activities, you will have increased mental clarity, develop problem solving and critical thinking abilities and improve your brain health in many other ways. Studies also show that when children and adults play brain games, they could help stave off mental conditions like Alzheimer's or Dementia and improve behaviors associated with ADHD.

While participating in brain fitness activities, such as brain games and brain training programs, is important, here are other ways you can help maintain a healthy brain:

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Diet
According to SharpBrains, the go-to source for all brain fitness news, the brain only weighs 2 percent of our total body mass, but it "consumes 20 percent of the oxygen and nutrients we intake." You hear the adage "you are what you eat" over and over. Well, you are going to hear it again because it is so, so true. You don't have to abstain from your favorite fast food joint or pastry shop, but you need to be consuming the USDA's recommended serving of fruits, vegetables, meats, fish and grains. You can find Folic acid, Omega-3 and DHA in certain types of legumes, berries and leafy greens, as well as in soybeans, fish and more. Remember that you can also purchase over-the-counter remedies and vitamins that contain your daily intake of Omega-3, DHA and folic acid. Giving your brain the nutrition it needs will help keep it active and healthy.

Exercise & Stress Control
Getting to the gym may be a pain, but after you have run those miles, lifted those weights or completed a yoga session, you feel great. "For an investment of maybe 3 hours a week," a SharpBrains article reads, "you get: a detox treatment, improved thinking and decreased stress, anxiety, depression, and addictive tendencies. Not to mention weight loss, increased energy and socialization." Through aerobic activities, you increase the blood flow to your brain, thus increasing your brain fitness and decreasing your stress levels. If you feel an increased bout of stress, however, we recommend that you meditate daily and participate in yoga, both of which will help lower your blood pressure, release pent-up muscle tension and increase brain fitness.

Social
When we say social, what comes to mind? Many may immediately think of social networking, which is socializing in a way, but not the kind we're talking about. People need people – actual, physical interaction. Studies show that interaction and connection with family, loved ones and even acquaintances not only stimulates the brain, but also helps alleviate depression and stress.

In addition to brain games and brain training programs, doing simple, everyday tasks like paying attention to your diet, exercising, managing your stress and socializing have an astronomical effect on your brain fitness level, brain health and overall mental clarity. Studies show that you are never too young or too old to do something about your brain fitness level. So, what are you waiting for? Start now, regret never.

At TopTenREVIEWS We Do the Research So You Don’t Have To.™ 

 

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