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Exercise your brain to keep it agile

Published On: Jan 30 2014 10:18:40 AM CST
teens helping senior with computer

iStock / ImageegamI

By Pure Matters

To keep your brain agile it needs exercise, just like the rest of you. Your brain’s memory, problem solving, flexibility, speed and attention can all be improved and maintained if you flex that special organ now and then. Just doing something new or different can shake things up to give your brain a quick workout. Here are some simple things you can incorporate into your day easily.

Get Lost
No GPS allowed. Try finding different ways to get home from work … even if it takes a little longer. Or try a new route for weekend chores. Once for a soccer carpool, the kids and I had a fun time finding 18 different ways to do our route. You never know what you might see when you turn off your autopilot. Or just take a turn down a different road and see where it goes. This is not recommended in Los Angeles, perhaps, or when you have to be somewhere on time, but your brain might enjoy some new scenery.

Give It Up
Do without something you use on a regular basis for a week or a month or whatever feels interesting. Try living without something basic like plastic or bread. In addition to giving your brain some exercise figuring out new ways to do things, you may find a way to rid yourself of a cumbersome habit or process.

Have an Opposite Day
Did you ever play opposite day as a kid? If you mean no, you say yes … you write with the opposite hand … wear your shirt inside out? Make a day where you try a few things in an “opposite” way, like brushing your teeth with the other hand or walking on a different side of the street. You’ll experience a different perspective and flex your grey matter at the same time.

Memory Game
Whether you are standing in line, waiting for a meeting to begin or riding on a bus, sharpen your powers of observation, as well as your memory by making a visual list. Make a mental note of 5 to 10 things you see. It can be menu items or things that are red or something each person in the room is wearing. Then test yourself later to see how much you remember.

Learn Languages
It is an especially good exercise for an adult brain to be stretched to learn a new language, but if you aren’t in for that big of a challenge, just practice other languages here and there. When visiting an ethnic restaurant ask the hostess how to say “thank you” or “hello” in her language. (This is especially fun with kids.) On an airplane test yourself with the safety instructions. And, I dare you … switch the language to an unfamiliar one at the ATM!

Source: Pure Matters