ACTIVITIES THAT BOOST BRAIN HEALTH

WLMAGAZINE

by Lyndsay Flagel

0Increasing blood flow to your brain improves health and energy. From every heartbeat, your brain uses 20 percent of that blood flow. A combination of consistent physical exercise, eating healthy and actively exercising your cognitive functions will improve blood flow to the brain, therefore increasing energy levels. Below are suggestions to keep your brain boosted for optimal (and intelligent!) living.

Do Aerobics

Strength training is a great addition to any workout regimen and gets the blood pumping. A combination of strength training and aerobics is the ideal workout regimen for brain health. Three 30-minute aerobic sessions a week should do it. Aerobics increases your heart rate, which increasingly moves blood to your brain with each heartbeat.

If you can’t get to the gym, try boosting your activity in the bedroom. Sex increases your heart rate, yes, but also releases chemicals and hormones that increase mental performance. Released endorphins help increase cognitive function and reduce stress.

Brain Exercises

From drawing a picture to actively thinking positively, you’re engaging your mental capabilities, which is always a benefit for improving brain health.

Meditation, or any conscious effort to focus on your breathing, is an active way of engaging your brain without interruptions. Even actively meditating for five minutes is beneficial.

Healthy Foods

If foods are heart healthy, consider them “brain healthy.” Fruits such as berries are high in antioxidants. Yogurt or salads are examples from other food groups that will improve brain function. Drink freshly squeezed juice or blend juice and fresh fruits for a refreshing smoothie.

Supplements are another way to improve cognition. Ginkgo biloba is a popular antioxidant supplement that improves blood flow to the brain. It is also known to improve additional cognitive and circulatory functions including enhanced memory. Add fish oil to your dietary intake to strengthen the emotional center of the brain and enhance focus.

Quit Smoking and Lower Caffeine 

These two can go hand-in-hand, but not always. While these lifestyle habits are hard to break, they’re contributors to reducing blood flow, meaning they lower energy.

And then some…

  • Other ways to improve brain health include:
  • Puzzles or crossword puzzles that provoke critical thinking and uses memory to recall answers.
  • Mimic others, this energizes areas of the brain that aren’t typically active.
  • Start crying–when you feel like it. Crying, which cleanses the brain, boosts healthy circulation.
  • Read a book.
  • Listen to classical music.

Learn a Language

There are many apps and websites available tailored to exercise the brain. There are video/computer games that promote critical and quick thinking responses and other natural problem-solving skills.

What’s the Point?

Memory, concentration, organization — these are components that are immediately affected when we are stressed or under mental exhaustion and fatigue. By consciously exercising our minds through physical exercise, meditation, or eating well, you are taking mindful steps toward improved longevity.

The old adage, “laughter is the best medicine,” is accurate. When you’re practicing brain health, laughing off stress may be worth considering. Laughter causes a natural release of endorphins, similar to any form of physical exercise. Try deflecting a negative situation with laughter. If you can’t laugh at yourself, throw a comedy on the T.V. and get those core muscles aching!

Keep the blood flowing smoothly to the brain, release those endorphins and be well. It’s a great recipe to improve brain health.

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