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Train Your Brain and Improve Cognitive Skills

February 7, 2023

Train Your Brain and Improve Cognitive Skills

There are a wide variety of cognitive training exercises that have been proven to help people stay sharp. Some focus on specific cognitive skills, while others are broader and focus on stimulating multiple areas of the brain.

It’s important to choose the activities that challenge you, rather than ones that you find easy. This will help you build new neural pathways.

1. Get a Good Night’s Sleep

Getting enough sleep is critical to your brain’s health. Insufficient or restless sleep has been linked to a range of health issues, including mood and memory problems.

It is also important for cognitive flexibility and learning. Research shows that sleep deprivation hinders this process, which reduces our ability to learn new things and adapt to change.

Researchers have also found that sleep improves the way we remember and understand emotional information – an aspect of learning that is often overlooked.

Most adults need four to six cycles of sleep every 24 hours to feel rested and refreshed. Each cycle contains three non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep stages and one rapid eye movement (REM) sleep stage.

2. Exercise Your Brain

The brain is the most complex organ of the body, regulating multiple bodily functions, interpreting incoming sensory information, and processing emotions. It also provides the foundation for memory, intelligence, and creativity.

In a similar way that weight training makes muscles stronger, exercise improves the connection between neurons in the brain. This process is called neuroplasticity, and it can help you overcome the natural decline in your cognitive function as you age.

Engaging in brain exercises may help your mental capabilities remain sharp even as you age, a research study found. These exercises range from jigsaw puzzles to crosswords, and they can boost your reasoning skills and speed of cognition.

3. Eat a Healthy Diet

Eating a healthy diet is one of the most important things you can do for your brain. It can help you maintain a healthy weight, improve your immune system, and protect you from diseases such as diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.

The key is to eat a variety of foods that contain vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. These nutrients can strengthen your brain cells, protect them from oxidative stress, and stimulate your neurons and neurotransmitters.

The best diet is one that is high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins. It should also include plenty of low-fat dairy and a small amount of nuts.

4. Stay Active

Physical activity boosts your mood and sleep, reduces anxiety and stress, improves your balance and muscle tone, lowers your risk of diabetes, heart disease and cancer, and keeps your brain sharp as you get older.

Whether it’s going for a walk, playing tennis or swimming, staying active can help you train your brain and improve cognitive skills. It also can boost your social and mental health, increase your self-esteem, and give you more energy.

To reap these benefits, experts recommend adults get at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity exercise. This includes activities such as walking, running or wheelchair rolling, as well as stretching exercises.

5. Take a Supplement

Whether you want to improve your memory, boost cognitive skills, or avoid dementia, supplements can help. But before you decide to take one, read its label and see if it is backed by clinical research.

For instance, a supplement that contains B vitamins can help increase focus and mental performance.

If you have any dietary restrictions or allergies, talk to your healthcare professional before taking any supplements.

A good rule of thumb is to stick to a well-rounded diet, including the so-called MIND (nutritional and antioxidant) diet. This way, you get a balanced combination of the essential vitamins and minerals your brain needs to stay healthy.

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