Power-up Your Brain with Exercise

Think of your brain as a muscle: It gets stronger with exercises that can boost your brain power and clear away the “fog.” Your everyday mental tasks can be compared to walking, but how about giving your brain a real workout?

Use Your Non-dominant Hand

Performing everyday activities with your non-dominant hand can power-up your brain.  If you’re right-handed, use your left hand to eat, drink, comb your hair, and brush your teeth. Try writing your name with your non-dominant hand or put your mouse pad on the other side of the keyboard.

Why does this work? The human brain starts declining after the age of thirty. Using the non-dominant hand stimulates the opposite side of the brain which activates blood flow, slowing down the aging process and improving mental capacity. Evidence from functional brain imaging shows that the process of neuroplasticity–the brain’s natural ability to form new connections–can be enhanced by learning new things, especially  hand-eye coordination exercises.

Stimulating communication between the two hemispheres even helps physical balance. Mind-body exercises like tai chi coach people to use the right and left sides of the body equally. Try switching hands in sports. For example, play tennis with the racquet in your non-dominant hand.

Move Your Fingers to Improve Your Brain

A map of the brain shows that the nerve endings on your fingertips correspond to more areas of the brain than any other body area, except perhaps the tongue and lips. Finger exercises and movements will help stimulate the neurons in your brain.

Workout Your Brain

Use it or lose it!  You can work out your mind just like you work out your body. Mental exercises that will keep your brain fit include doing crossword puzzles, playing chess, or memorizing names, shopping lists and phone numbers. When I was a young boy, to keep my brain function strong, my father had me memorize Tang Dynasty poetry. Every day I had to memorize a new poem and recite it back. Try learning the words to a poem or song or even balance your financial accounts manually instead of with a calculator.

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