Many men and women are obsessed with exercise to tone their bodies and gain physical power and stamina in the process.

 

But its not just the body that needs exercise because it is also needed by our neural pathways, our brain, to enable it to function at its optimum and have it communicate well with the other parts of our body and the world around us.

 

There are five areas in our brain that need exercise in order to make it consistently sharp. 

 

1. Memory exercises

 

Music is a good stimulant for the mind, but it is also a good material to exercise your memory.  Listening to pleasant music and remembering its lyrics at the same time boosts your level of acetylcholine, the chemical that plays a big role in improving your memory.  Another way to sharpen your memory skills is by brushing your teeth using your opposite hand or getting dressed in the dark.

 

These exercises, if done on a regular basis, helps build new associations between different connections between your brain and the other parts of your nervous system.

 

2. Attention exercises

 

In order to improve your brain's attention span, try to reorganize your desk regularly.  This will make you pay attention to details as things no longer come automatic.  Exercising regularly to strengthen attention span is necessary for us as our age increases.  Our attention span decreases as we age. One way to exercise our brain's attention is by listening to an audio book while we jog or doing the math while picking items at a grocery store.

 

3. Language exercises

 

Going out of your comfort zone by reading articles which do not belong to your favorite topics will make you encounter new words that challenge your ability to recognize and remember language.  Do this regularly and your language skills will surely improve. 

 

4. Visual-Spatial exercises

 

Processing visual-spatial information is a cognitive function of the brain that takes note of what's around you.  To exercise this function, walk into a room, pick out five items and try to remember their exact locations.  Remember these items and their locations as you exit and try to recall these after two hours.  Even if you are outdoors, you can practice this exercise that sharpens your memory and trains y9ur brain to be aware of what's surrounding you.

 

5. Executive function exercises

 

This may not seem an exercise at all because we do it everyday – using logic and reasoning to make decisions, analyze and consider possible consequences of actions we make.  These activities which we actually do on a daily basis are the best exercises that sharpen our executive functions.

 

Aging is inevitable, and it's a fact that our brain's sharpness and energy deteriorate with age.  By doing mental exercises that enhance the memory, attention, language, visual-spatial and executive skills, we are actually doing our brain a favor by keeping it sharp and youthful.

 

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