How can we get mentally fit again?
Brain training: 4 tips to keep your brain fit
Have you already done something for your mental fitness today? The saying “use it or lose it” applies not only to your muscles, but also to your brain! We'll show you the best way to stay mentally active.
What is brain jogging?
Do you exercise regularly to keep yourself fit? Excellent! But in addition to your body, your brain also needs training in order to remain efficient. The term brain jogging stands for Exercises that keep your mind fit. With brain training your Train your memory and improve your ability to concentrate become.
You have to get your Think of the brain as a muscle. If you don't ask him regularly, he will wither. So did the study1 from University College London found that the hippocampus of the taxi drivers examined in London is more pronounced than that of other people. Why is that?
The hippocampus serves as a switching point between short and long-term memory. Here facts and events are transferred from short-term memory to long-term memory. London is a huge city with many streets. Taxi drivers have to pass a demanding hiring test, remember the streets and be able to navigate through the city. They use this knowledge every day in their work.
Although it has not yet been precisely researched whether the neurons of taxi drivers are increasingly connecting to one another or whether new cells are even formed, one thing is certain - their hippocampus has a larger volume than that of the control group.
Conclusion: Brain training has an effect on the size of your brain. If you regularly exercise yourself with brain teasers, you increase the volume of the hippocampus and do something for your long-term memory.
We only use 10 percent of our brain - is that right?
Your brain is a complex organ. It weighs between 1.5 and 2 kg, has around 86 billion brain cells and makes up only 3 percent of the total body weight. Your thinking organ controls your movements, helps you to make decisions, shapes your personality - to name just a few tasks.
But is it true that we only use 10 percent of it? No! Your brain is made up of different areas that have different functions. Depending on the situation or task, different regions of the brain are activated more than others. When you speak, your language center is active. When you touch something, another region is involved accordingly.
Conclusion: Depending on the situation, you use every area of your brain and the areas are also linked to one another. That is why you should do a brain training both brain teasers and exercises that focus on physical activity aim to include.
Exercise to get your brain in top shape
Exercise has many benefits for your physical and mental health. Movement stimulates blood circulation and supplies your thinking organ with oxygen. But that's not all!
Studies2 have shown that the following changes take place after a workout:
- Your dopamine and serotonin levels increase after the workout. Dopamine acts like a reward system after completing a challenge, and serotonin is a happiness hormone that is important for your general wellbeing. Episode: You get in a better mood!
- Thanks to training you can focus better. The prefrontal cortex is part of the frontal lobe and is located in the front of your brain. Why is it important? This area is active when you need to make a decision, focus, and pay attention. Training improves the function of the prefrontal cortex and ensures greater concentration.
- Your reaction time will get better thanks to training.
If you exercise regularly, you will benefit from these changes in the long term. Works even after a long day at work Training to compensate, reduces stress and clears your head in the truest sense of the word! Physical activity activates the movement center so that your prefrontal cortex can rest.
In addition, your memory will improve thanks to exercise! Studies3 have shown that regular exercise stimulates the formation of new nerve cells and increases the volume of the hippocampus. Result: you can remember things better!
Brain food - the right food for your head
Your diet is an important factor in increasing your mental and cognitive abilities. So areVitaminsnot only good for your immune system, but also protect your nerve cells. Vitamin B12 helps to strengthen your nerves and promote concentration. You can find B12 in dairy products like cheese, but also in eggs and fish.
Your thinking organ is also largely made up of fat. This is why it is important to incorporate healthy fats into your diet. Omega-3 is a polyunsaturated fatty acid and is essential for us humans. Your body cannot produce omega-3 itself, so it has to be ingested through food.
Omega-3 contributes to the maintenance of normal eyesight as well as heart and brain functions. It is involved in the formation of new nerve cells and has an anti-inflammatory effect. You can find them in foods like salmon and walnuts, but also in vegetable oil.
Our tip: If you find it difficult to meet your daily omega-3 requirement or you are looking for a vegan alternative, try our omega-3 capsules. They are obtained from algae, the natural source of omega-3.
Discover omega-3 capsules
Also, remember to include yourself enough liquid to take care of a good blood circulation in your thinking organ and on one balanced nutritionto pay attention to. Provide yourself with enough energy in the form of complex carbohydrates, proteins and fats to keep your cognitive performance at a high level.
4 tips for everyday life to keep your brain fit
That sounds like a pleasant task! Unfortunately, the importance of sleep is often underestimated. Too little sleep or poor quality of sleep damage your health and are associated with diseases such as Alzheimer's, cardiovascular diseases or even diabetes.
Why do you need sleep You work through your day in your sleep. New information that is important is stored in long-term memory and unimportant is forgotten. In addition, toxins and waste materials are disposed of during sleep. If you sleep too little, this has a negative effect on your ability to learn and your concentration.
Learn new things
Challenge your brain with new tasksso that he always remains active, learns new things and creates new neural connections. The tasks should challenge you, but of course also be fun!
For example, you can do a Learning a new language, playing a new musical instrument or another hobby try out. It is important that you do something that you have never done before. In addition, there are numerous brain training apps that keep you mentally fit with brain jogging exercises.
Humans are social beings. Regular exchange with others keeps you mentally fit and activates the nerve cells. Even in childhood, social interactions are essential for healthy development - both mentally and physically.
The importance of social contacts does not decrease over the years. So leaveyour friendships leave their mark on your brain. A study4 found that the gray matter in certain regions of the brain is better preserved in people with a lively social environment, even in old age, than in people who have little social contact.
More exercise in everyday life
Brain training can also be done through exercise. Try to bring more activity into your everyday life and thus use your movement center regularly. Coordination training is a good way to promote the interaction of sensory organs, your muscles and the peripheral and central nervous system.
Your central nervous system includes nerve structures located in your brain and spinal cord. There stimuli from your environment are processed. The peripheral nervous system refers to nerve tracts that lie outside the central nervous system. The sensation of pain, cold or the control of movements run through the peripheral nervous system. Information is passed on to the central nervous system and vice versa.
Coordination training includes exercises that train your ability to balance and react. You can easily practice your balance with one-legged exercises such as the level scales. You can also try to stand on your right leg and stretch your left leg forward. Then, draw an eight in the air with your left leg for a few repetitions. Do not touch the ground while doing this. Then you switch sides.
Why is brain training important in old age?
Cognitive abilities decrease with age. We become more forgetful and our ability to learn deteriorates. This is because over the years the number of nerve cells is reduced and the brain volume decreases.
However, an active lifestyle can counteract this and slow down these developments. Since the prefrontal cortex and hippocampus are most susceptible to diseases such as Alzheimer's and dementia, regular exercise is recommended. Exercise helps reduce the breakdown of nerve cells in these areas.
In addition to exercise, memory training for seniors can include games that stimulate thinking and improve memory. Short-term memory can be trained with memory games. Quiz games or board games are also good for brain training with a fun factor. And that at any age!
- Brain training involves both brain teasers and physical activity
- Workout has a positive effect on your memory, mood and ability to concentrate
- Drinking enough water ensures good blood flow to the brain
- Omega-3 helps your body build new nerve cells and has anti-inflammatory effects
- Cognitive abilities decline with age
- Good sleep, social contacts and new hobbies keep you mentally fit
1Eleanor A. Maguire, Katherine Woollett, Hugo J. Spiers (2006): London taxi drivers and bus drivers: A structural MRI and neuropsychological analysis.
2Basso Julia C., Suzuki Wendy A. (2017): The Effects of Acute Exercise on Mood, Cognition, Neurophysiology, and Neurochemical Pathways: A Review.
3Kirk I. Erickson, Michelle W. Voss, Ruchika Shaurya Prakash (2011): Exercise training increases size of hippocampus and improves memory.
4Nora Bittner, Christiane Jockwitz, Thomas W. Mühleisen (2019): Combining lifestyle risks to disentangle brain structure and functional connectivity differences in older adults.
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