Many of us know how to keep the body healthy, actively working to incorporate nutritious meals and exercise into our daily lives. However, the brain is just as important! While many are unsure about how to maintain cognitive health, it is actually fairly easy to do and can even be quite fun. As leaders in brain and spine care, backed by years of experience in diagnosing and treating complex neurological conditions, the physicians of IGEA Brain & Spine have a deep understanding of what is needed to maintain a lifestyle that is supportive of brain health. Here are some simple ways to keep your brain on its toes and in tiptop shape.
Six Brain-Stimulating Activities to Keep your Mind Active
In addition to having the qualifications needed to diagnose and treat life-threatening brain tumors, neurological disorders, and more, the neurosurgeons of IGEA Brain & Spine incorporate some very simple techniques into their daily lives, designed to support overall brain health. Promote the health of your brain and body by incorporating the following activities into your own lifestyle:
- Brush Your Teeth in a New Way. This is a favorite brain-stimulating activity of our own Dr. David Poulad, as featured in Reader’s Digest. “As a neuro-oncologist, I’m well aware of how important it is to keep our brain active and alert at all ages. I do this with simple changes in day-to-day activities,” he says. “Brushing my teeth with my non-dominant hand, for example, is an easy way to change my routine. Even a small change like this causes an increase in the level of connectivity between the neurons in the brain. Teaching yourself new things and challenging yourself on a daily basis will keep your brain healthy and resilient.”
- Work Those Fingers. Since the brain coordinates movement, dexterity exercises can be greatly beneficial. Learn new hobbies – such as jewelry making or knitting – that work your fine motor skills while teaching you patterns and encouraging creativity. Consider it an added bonus that you will end up with unique pieces that are all your own!
- Read Out Loud. When we read silently to ourselves, we use different brain circuits than when we read out loud or listen to someone else reading. Partner up with a friend, your child, or even a date (a book of poetry could be suitable in this instance!), and alternate reading aloud. Perhaps there is a bestseller you’ve been wanting to check out or a book on a topic of interest you share with a child, such as dinosaurs.
- Follow Your Nose. You may not remember the exact moment you smelled coffee for the first time, but today, you may regularly associate it with your morning commute or leisurely weekend breakfast. That’s because in processing the information it receives from your olfactory senses, your brain works hard to process and provide meaning for the scent. Sniff some peppermint oil when you wake up, a citrus scent when you shower, or an exotic incense when you read the paper or check your email. You’ll be forming a new neural pathway and giving your brain a challenge – and your brain loves that.
- Try New Foods. Similarly, through novel smell and taste sensations, your brain will be processing new information. You might even be surprised by the feelings you experience or associations you make, as the brain’s emotional center is linked to your senses. You could try new cuisines so that your brain can contrast and compare the spices, tastes, and textures with what it has learned about other cultures, histories, and tastes. Trying new recipes and cooking techniques will also give your brain something to chew on – as well as extend your culinary repertoire for family meals or entertaining.
- Try a New Route. Chances are, you don’t even have to think about your daily commute; getting off at the correct exit and making that final left-hand turn become almost second-nature after the making the drive just a few times. By finding an alternative route and switching up your commute a couple times a week, your brain will be working to learn the new route, as well as processing new information with the change of direction and scenery. Even if it adds an extra 5 minutes to your commute, using the alternate route may be well-worth the work it’s making your brain do.
Meet The Brains Behind IGEA Brain & Spine
With several conveniently located offices throughout the NY/NJ Metropolitan region, IGEA Brain & Spine is a prestigious and comprehensive neurosurgical practice offering a variety of minimally invasive procedures and treatments. Dedicated to the holistic wellness of every patient, our team of qualified neurosurgeons encourages you to try these simple and fun brain exercises. Not only do they keep your brain healthy, active, strong, and alert, but they can actually enhance your enjoyment of life. Many of them are also great things to do with friends or family. You don’t have to tell them you’re helping their brain health, too!