The human brain is a complex organ that controls our thoughts, feelings, and actions.In an emergency situation, it will control every aspect of how you navigate the unknown and whether you are successful or not.
Like the rest of our body, our brains change and adapt throughout life.But unlike muscles or flexibility, which are easy to build, measure and improve upon through exercise, the brain is a bit more difficult to train.That said, it’s definitely not impossible.Working on brain elasticity throughout your life is as important as any exercise, and here are ways to keep your brain’s ability to form new neural connections, reorganize existing ones, and prevent injury - making sure your cognitive function and capabilities stay strong for years to come.
Exercise regularly: Believe it or not, exercise is not only good for your physical health but also for your mental health. Both cardio and strength training can be beneficial for improving brain elasticity, but in slightly different ways.Cardiovascular exercise, such as running, cycling, or swimming, has been shown to increase blood flow to the brain, which can help to improve brain function and cognitive performance. Studies have also found that regular aerobic exercise can lead to increased grey matter volume in the brain, particularly in the areas involved in memory and learning.Strength training, on the other hand, has been found to improve brain function by increasing levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a protein that supports the growth and survival of brain cells. BDNF is important for the development and maintenance of brain plasticity, which is the brain's ability to adapt and change in response to new experiences and learning.Overall, a combination of cardio and strength training is likely to be themost effective way to improve brain elasticity, as each type of exercise has unique benefits for brain function and plasticity. Additionally, engaging in a variety of physical activities can help to keep exercise interesting and enjoyable, which can help to promote long-term adherence to an exercise routine.
Learn new skills: Learning new skills can challenge your brain and promote the growth of new neural connections. It can also improve cognitive function and memory. You can learn a new language, take up a new hobby, or even learn to play a musical instrument.Work on improving hand eye coordination with both hands and legs, and not your dominant one only.As an example, dribble a basketball with both hands, or jump off of opposite feet doing drills on speed, agility and/or strength.
Play brain games: Brain games, such as Sudoku, crossword puzzles, and memory games, can help improve brain elasticity by challenging your brain and promoting the growth of new neural connections.Card games are another great option to improve elasticity while being social with friends.
Get enough sleep: Sleep is essential for brain health and cognitive function. It is during sleep that the brain consolidates memories and forms new neural connections. Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep each night.Research also suggests that poor sleep quality may also contribute to the development and progression of Alzheimer's disease. During sleep, the brain clears out waste products, including amyloid-beta, which is a protein that accumulates in the brains of people with Alzheimer's disease. If sleep is disrupted, this clearance process may be less efficient, leading to a buildup of amyloid-beta and other toxins in the brain.
Eat a healthy diet: A healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein can provide the nutrients and antioxidants needed for brain health. Avoid processed foods and sugary drinks, which can have a negative impact on cognitive function.
Manage stress: Chronic stress can have a negative impact on brain health and cognitive function. Practicing relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, meditation, and yoga, can help reduce stress and improve brain elasticity. Be sure to check our previous blog on breathing techniques to reduce stress for tips on how to implement this in to your daily lives.
Stay socially active: Social interaction can stimulate the brain and promote the growth of new neural connections. Make time for friends and family, and engage in activities that involve social interaction.
Our brain is an easy aspect of overall wellness that is easy to forget to focus on.Incorporate some of these tips to stay sharp for years to come.