We are all looking for ways to increase our brain power. And luckily, there are plenty of easy, inexpensive, and low-tech ways to raise awareness.
“Low-tech activities that are mentally stimulating, especially those that are challenging, help our brains make new connections. The more connections we have, the more ways our brains have to find to get information where it needs to go. Depending on the activity, this can help improve cognition as a whole or in certain areas, ”says Dr. Joel Salinas, behavioral neurologist and faculty member at the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies.
Low tech brain training activities to try
Mentally stimulating activity can raise a little cognitive light: it takes some work to process or produce information. This type of activity can include any of the following.
- Learn a language. Bilingual people have greater mental flexibility and agility and may have some protection from the risk of developing dementia compared to people who speak one language. Learning a second language later in life can even delay cognitive decline. First, listen to voice recordings, take an online class, or download an app like Babbel or Duolingo.
- Listen to or make music. Music can activate almost all regions of the brain, including those related to emotions, memory, and physical movement. Take advantage of this by listening to new types of music or learning how to play an instrument. Check out playlists from other countries or learn to play an instrument by watching free videos on YouTube.
- Play card and board games. Games strengthen your ability to recall memories (when playing Trivial Pursuit, for example) or think strategically (when playing games like Monopoly or Checkers). Playing card games is helpful because you need to use a number of mental skills at the same time: memory, visualization, and sequencing.
- To travel. Visiting a new place exposes you to sights and sounds that improve brain plasticity and create new connections in your brain. You may not be able to travel far during the pandemic, but just exploring nearby areas can cause brain changes. Drive to a city you’ve never visited before or visit an outdoor park with unfamiliar terrain (maybe mountains or dense forests) for new perspectives.
- Watch plays, films, concerts or museum tours. Cultural activities stimulate the brain in a variety of ways. While you may not currently enjoy these activities indoors, you may be able to see them outdoors or online. Choose something that takes a little effort to understand, such as: B. a Shakespeare play or a foreign film (try to find out what the characters are saying without reading the subtitles). When you see a concert, choose one with complex classical compositions. When viewing an online museum exhibit, try to capture the details that the artist used to submit a message.
- Word puzzle. Working on word puzzles (like Crosswords, Jumble, or Sudoku) has been shown to help people improve their scores on tests of attention, reasoning, and memory. Try a different type of puzzle every day (for example, a Sudoku one day, a mess the next) and increase the difficulty as the puzzles get easier.
Maximizing the Benefits of Brain Training
Don’t Limit Yourself to One Mentally Stimulating Activity: Some evidence suggests that the more of these activities you do, the lower the risk of mild cognitive impairment.
Combining mentally stimulating activities with exercise, learning, or socializing can have an even greater impact on cognition. For example:
- Get physical and dance while listening to new music.
- Learn by watching a video lecture on an artist before seeing an exhibition of the person’s work.
- Meet up by playing a board game with friends online while on a video call.
One thing not to do: think of these activities as brain training tasks. Just enjoy them because they are fun. They will improve your life and potentially sharpen your knowledge to start.