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6 Easy Ways to Cross-Train Your Noggin

How many times have we aimlessly walked around the parking garage? It’s never for leisure, is it? Once in a while we do forget where we park our cars, but if we cross-train our brains, we’ll see improvement in overall health, memory and ability to learn more.

Fitness for the brain includes combining eating well, getting exercise and giving a little tender love to ourselves. I’ll list them in my favorite order:

1. Gets some ZZZs

As we get tired, our memory starts to slip. We could all use a little more sleep, not only to be more productive each day, but to remember what we have to do each day. And, yes, sleep is good for achieving greater mental acuity.

2. Chill Out

Chilling out and getting sleep are two different things, although you can achieve one from the other. What we’re talking about is calming down. Meditation, yoga, Tai Chi, Qi Gong, playing music, taking a bath, running – everyone has their own ways to do this. Stress hormones have been known to shrink memory, so doing something to calm us will improve mental and physical health.

3.Feed Our Brain

Andrew Weil, M.D., co-author of The Healthy Brain Kit and author of Healthy Aging: A Lifelong Guide to Your Physical and Spiritual Well-Being, recommends eating foods high in anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. These include salmon, sardines, fruits, vegetables, extra virgin olive oil, and green tea, among others. Things to avoid are saturated fats, refined carbs and sugars.

4. Move It

Exercise gets our blood pumping and enriches our brain and the rest of our body with the oxygen that it needs. Whatever activity we choose, we should get at least 30 minutes of exercise each day.

5. Learn Something

Yet one of the best brain workouts is keeping an open mind and being willing to take in more information. Go beyond sudoku and crossword puzzles and engage in any learning process, like taking up a new language, tackling your child’s calculus problem, learning a new computer program, or taking a dance class. The brain responds positively to change, shifting needs and stimuli.

6. Take a Look Around You

Going back to the parking lot scenario. Once we are parked, look around and take an imprint of the vital information we need so we can return to it. But, before we can do this we need to teach our brain to flush out any distractions and focus. This will also help us when we meet “what’s his name” for the first time.

Did you like this post? What useful tips have you used to remember things, like people’s names?

Social media-driven, passionate about living healthy, and writing about both. Marisa Finetti has been published in a number of magazines on topics of spa and wellness, and has her own blogs on social media and health: Best Be Well,Spa Pixie and Social Media Siren.

4 Comments

  1. Marisa Finetti

    December 22, 2010 at 3:12 pm

    Ajish, thanks for sharing the good information. I love that posts can turn into such great resource for readers (and bloggers).

  2. kumar

    December 21, 2010 at 11:52 pm

    Excellent post on Brain fitness. More and more brain research supports the idea that our brain functioning can improve no matter our age, with the adoption of appropriate lifestyle and tools, and that doing so can help build our cognitive reserves and protect our brains against decline and even Alzheimer´s symptoms. I recommend checking out sharpbrains.com for a lot of good stuff on lifelong cognitive health and brain fitness, including this nice checklist to evaluate “brain training” products and claims: http://www.sharpbrains.com/resources/10-question-evaluation-checklist/

    Ajish

  3. AlexandraFunFit

    December 21, 2010 at 1:43 am

    Excellent post. Succinct, well-laid out and accurate. Thanks for this wonderful post, er, what’s your name again? Nah, just messing. Of course, I love the one about moving more, but they are all necessary. My mom loves to “play” with Legos. She says it’s to help her brain stay active. And it seems to work for her! Now I think I’ll go get some sleep so my brain will cooperate with me in the morning. Thanks again.

    • Marisa Finetti

      December 22, 2010 at 3:07 pm

      Thanks, Alexandra. I put sleep first because it really works for me. Always hoping the memory boost will kick in.

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