If you’ve ever felt stuck in a brain rut that you couldn’t snap out of, you’re not alone. We’ve all had our moments when we walk into a room and forget what it was we came in for, or forget something we wanted to tell a friend. The question is, how can we keep those mental lapses in check, especially with so much to remember in the fast-paced world we live in?
It’s just as important to keep your mind active as it is to keep your body healthy, so that both can perform their best every day. Read on for some quick and simple everyday activities you can do to keep your mind sharp, and stop those pesky ‘senior moments’ (that we all have no matter our age) in their tracks!
Experts say that physical exercise is crucial to keeping you alert and feeling awake throughout the day. According to a study by the University of British Colombia, researchers discovered that regular aerobics may boost the area of the brain that controls verbal memory and learning, called the hippocampus. Talk to your doctor to determine which type of aerobic exercise is best for you, whether it’s going for a brisk, heart-pumping walk every day after dinner or taking up kickboxing a few times a week.
Pick Up a Puzzle
A fun way to get your brain in gear is to try a new puzzle or word game. Activities such as crossword puzzles, Sudoku, or even a good old game of cards can help you stimulate your mind. When you’re thinking creatively to solve a puzzle, it helps your brain grow neurons and stimulate activity that can keep you sharp. Look to your local newspaper’s crossword puzzle and start there!
Take a Detour
For many of us, our brains often go on auto-pilot when we drive to work or school and don’t get much stimulation from the trip. Instead of taking the same familiar roads day in and day out, switch things up a bit and find a new route that will force your brain to focus on your driving. Breaking up the routine will help keep you on your toes! You could also listen to a podcast while driving or language lessons to give your commute even more of a brain boost.
Amp Up Your Vocabulary
You don’t need to read the entire dictionary to whip your vocab into shape! Instead, focus on learning one new word a day. This will not only help you improve your brain function – it will turn you into a better speaker as well. Consider signing up for Dictionary.com’s ‘Word of the Day’ email so it’s delivered to your inbox daily.
Keeping your body hydrated is essential for your mental wheels to turn at optimal speed. According to an article on PsychologyToday.com, we have a much more difficulty paying attention and staying focused when we’re dehydrated versus when we drink enough water. That’s because our brain cells need plenty of water to perform properly, or else they begin to slow down. The good news is that simply chugging down on your water bottle a little more often can help you stay focused and alert – and we can all drink to that!
Get Some Zzzz’s
Research suggests that the nerve connections that make our memories are strengthened during sleep, says Camille Perri on WebMD.com. So it’s no wonder that getting less than the recommended 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night can make you feel groggy and forgetful the next day. Limit your caffeine intake, relax, and turn off your electronic devices about an hour before you hit the hay to ensure that you get a restful sleep.
– By Sara Kildunne