7 Easy Tips and Tricks to Train Your Brain

· January 9, 2019
Having a young brain and fighting the natural ageing of your body starts with some healthy habits. Keep reading to discover how you can train your brain and keep your mind young for years to come.

If you spend hours in the gym exercising, you should think about your brain too! Yes, like any other part of your body, you need to train your brain from time to time. Nevertheless, most people don’t know how to do it. Today will be all about getting your brain the in the best shape possible!

Having a young brain and fighting the natural ageing of your body starts with some healthy habits. Keep reading to discover how you can train your brain and keep your mind young for years to come.

The “normal” ageing of the brain

the brain is the most important organ of the body

Like the body, the brain ages naturally. This is an unavoidable process, although you can take measures to alleviate this. The passing of time leaves a mark on the mind, but that doesn’t mean we can’t be alert until our last breath.

It’s important to know that cognitive ageing begins when we’re born. Every day we lose a little of our mental capacity compared to the previous day. This is not bad, but normal.

While all brains age, the way each one does varies greatly. Memory, processing speed, decision making, learning, and wisdom are within the “cognitive aspect” of the brain. You can modify how your brain ages, and whether or not you keep a healthy mind into your old age. In order to preserve our cognitive health, it’s key to take care of it early on.

How exactly can you take care of this part of your body? Just like the rest of our bodies, we can have workouts specially designed to challenge the brain, keeping it young and lively for years to come.

How to train your brain?

To prevent the mind from deteriorating faster than usual, it’s necessary to train and care for it from an early age. Here are some easy habits that will keep your brain young and your mind clear:

Sleep

sleep is essential to have a young brain

Both your mind and body get tired after a long day. The mind needs to rest to recharge its batteries and be alert the next day. You can train your brain overnight simply by sleeping enough!

If you are anxious, depressed or stressed, it would be good for you to sleep for a while. The same thing happens if you find yourself overwhelmed by concerns or responsibilities. Resting is beneficial to your mental and physical health.

Seven or eight hours of sleep at night are not a luxury: it’s the minimum the brain needs to rest. If you could take a 20-minute nap after lunch then this will also be very good for your brain.

Belgium researchers published an article in Science, where they explained how sleep is key in the formation of memories. Even more, they found strong ties between sleep and the ability to learn and grasp new information.

You might also want to read: Try These 6 Tips for a Rejuvenating Sleep

Have regular workouts

Physical activity is key to improving mental health. Exercise can train your muscles at the same time that you train your brain. This is because it improves heart rate and, as a consequence, blood circulation.

When the brain receives blood in adequate amounts and conditions, neurons can do their job better. In addition, gentle exercise supplies oxygen to the brain tissue and prevents it from deteriorating. Having a regular exercise routine will do wonders for the health of your body and your brain.

Eat healthy, balanced meals

Lleva una dieta equilibrada

A healthy diet has been reported to have an important role in keeping a healthy mind. For example, purple fruits and vegetables (grapes, blueberries, eggplants, beets) are the best options to avoid dementia.

They contain a compound called anthocyanin that helps blood flow and brain oxygenation. You can also find it in red fruits (blackberries, strawberries, cherries, etc). Researchers have discovered that anthocyanin can help and even reverse some symptoms of mild to moderate dementia in older adults.

In turn, you also need to consume Omega 3 fatty acids (including mostly fish) and foods with antioxidant properties such as legumes, green tea, and nuts.

A study published by an international scientist’s team indicated that long-term misuse of certain dietary components has also been linked to chronic neuroimmune maladaptation that may predispose individuals to neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease. The authors focus on the consumption of palatable hyper-caloric foods that can induce changes in the brain plasticity mechanism contributing to persistent overeating, thus causing overweight/obesity, also altering learning and memory mechanisms.

This means you should reduce your fast-food intake in order to keep your brain healthy. Try not to eat many fats and sugars, as these lead to diabetes, hypertension or high cholesterol. These are all conditions that negatively affect your brain.

Take care of your health

You should go to the doctor’s at least once a year to undergo a general examination that includes blood, urine, and electrocardiogram tests and whatever your doctor considers appropriate.

Moreover, pay attention to the medicines you take because some drugs combined with others have harmful effects on cognitive function: antidepressants, tranquillizers, antihistamines or bladder medicines, for example.

Don’t be tricked by products that promise to improve your mental functions. These vitamin supplements may be good for your physical health, but they’re not proven to be beneficial for your brain. There’s no problem in consuming them (if the doctor says you can), but don’t expect miracles to happen.

Enjoy healthy hobbies

Disfruta de pasatiempos saludables

You can train your brain while practising fun activities. In addition to Sudoku or word puzzles, it’s also advisable to do other activities that are good for your health, such as going on a picnic, playing a game of cards in the garden, solving riddles in the park or reading in a field. This way you won’t only be exercising your mind, but will also be in contact with nature. Your body (and your brain) will thank you for this!

Learn one thing every day

Although your time as a student may have long since ended, it’s always a good time to go back to books and notebooks.

You may not want to go to another college or be too busy to add a course to your schedule. However, you could read a journal article about a scientific discovery, a travelogue about a city that you like or a text about natural remedies, for example.

The important thing is that you never stop training your brain by learning and challenge it. Another good idea is to be curious and ask yourself new questions.

For instance, you could ask yourself how the northern lights emerge. What language is spoken in Iran? What are hectopascals? Maybe you studied certain topics in school but now don’t remember anything about them. The basic point is that you should look for the information you need!

To train your brain, you could also learn a language. The brain has to do a different task when it doesn’t recognize the words that are telling it something or it has to translate them into a language it understands. Languages do not only serve when we travel: they are a way of knowing about other cultures and ways of life … try it! you will see how effective is for your mind!

Want to know more? Read this next: Seven Great Ways To Relax

 

Be socially active

From a certain age, family obligations and commitments take up all of your free time. While this is very good, you also need to have contact with new people in different places, as this is an easy way to train your brain every day.

For example, going to lunch with friends, having dinner with your cousins, meeting new people on your language course are easy ways to do this. This is how you’ll feel refreshed, vitalized and happy.

How is this good for our brain? When we’re happy we create more hormones that are beneficial for our body, including the brain. We’ll be healthier if we put aside the stress and sadness in our life.

Overall, keeping a healthy brain is easier than you’d think if you work towards having a healthy relationship with your mind and body.

  • McKhann, G., & Albert, M. (2002). Keep your brain young: The complete guide to physical and emotional health and longevity. John Wiley & Sons.
  • Nussbaum, P. D. (2010). Save your brain: 5 things you must do to keep your mind young and sharp. New York: McGraw-Hill.
  • Morin, J. P., Rodríguez-Durán, L. F., Guzmán-Ramos, K., Perez-Cruz, C., Ferreira, G., Diaz-Cintra, S., & Pacheco-López, G. (2017). Palatable hyper-caloric foods impact on neuronal plasticity. Frontiers in behavioral neuroscience11, 19.
  • Maquet, P. (2001). The role of sleep in learning and memory. science294(5544), 1048-1052.
  • Kent, K., Charlton, K., Roodenrys, S., Batterham, M., Potter, J., Traynor, V., … & Richards, R. (2017). Consumption of anthocyanin-rich cherry juice for 12 weeks improves memory and cognition in older adults with mild-to-moderate dementia. European journal of nutrition56(1), 333-341.