Fun Brain Training Exercises for Improving MemoryA woman with a sketch behind her of the left brain and the right brain.

 

The human brain may not be a muscle, but it still needs a good workout every so often to stay in healthy shape. According to research, the brain develops millions of neural pathways that help the average adult process information, solve familiar problems, and do daily tasks with a low mental effort. Actually, problem solving can be fun and engaging, but we don't do it enough. More research found that exercise is important for brain health and it’s already proven beneficial. However, it was also found that if one always sticks to these everyday activities, then the brain does not get the stimulation. It needs to keep growing and developing. 

 

So how does one stimulate and exercise the human brain? And what are these mind-sharpening exercises? Researchers have identified several activities that could help. So, read on to discover fun & free brain training exercises for improving memory.

 

How to exercise your brain

 

For the brain to stay stimulated, it needs to be exercised. This can be done by focusing on improving such functions as memory. Memory, much like any activity, improves when used and deteriorates when neglected. The more you work out on this brain process, the better you will remember information. There are various ways to train the brain, but not all of these activities achieve the same degree of success. It is believed that the best' brain trainers' are the ones that challenge the organ and force it to create new pathways. 

An animated brain lifting weights and doing a training exercise.

So, you ask how to exercise your mind?

There are a few things to consider when choosing the appropriate brain exercise to improve your memory:

1. The exercise needs to be challenging

This needs to be an activity that requires your full attention and pulls you out of your comfort zone. It needs to demand total mental effort and exertion like a game of chess.

2. The exercise needs to be new

It is crucial for brain exercise to be something new and not something that is already memorized. The practice needs to ensure that the brain is stimulated to develop a new skill. An example of this would be learning to play a new musical instrument.

3. There needs to be a skills progression

This means that the activity needs to have levels - as you grasp one concept, you can move on to a more complicated concept, and so on. The example of a musical instrument can be applied to this point as well.

4. The exercise must be fulfilling

The user must feel fulfilled after completing the task so that they can readily engage in another. For example, solving a complex puzzle may lead to wanting to try another one.

5. The exercise needs to be interesting

In scientific research made in 2018, it was shown that there is a positive relationship between memory and interest. In another word, the research found that when we have an interest in the subject of the question, we are more likely to recall the answer. Also, interest can help us be more persistent and play every day in the long term.

 

Some suggest more wacky methods of stimulating the brain. A few exciting examples include; brushing your teeth with your non-dominant hand, switching seats at the dinner table, taking a different route to work. Research has shown that using the opposite side of your brain can result in a considerable improvement in its processing and memory retention.

 

A woman with a note with the word brain on her forehead.

How sleep affects the brain and helps cognitive function

 

Another way to engage the brain is sleeping. Believe it or not, sleeping is vitally important in improving learning and memory. The reason is since while you sleep, the brain consolidates all the information you learned while awake. This is very important in enhancing memory and developing new brain pathways.

 

In a state of deep sleep, the brain is jam-packed. It has been found that it signals the body to let the blood pressure drop. Breathing is slowed down, and muscles are relaxed. This gives the brain a chance to focus on other essential functions. While in this state, the brain releases growth hormones that help with repairing tissue and muscle development.

 

In exciting research published in the journal' Current Biology', volunteers who were placed in a darkened room were asked to identify some spoken words into specific categories by pressing a left or right button. Once they had gotten used to the task, and it became automatic, researchers told them that they would continue with the study, but it was fine for them to sleep through it.

 

A few volunteers slept, and the researchers introduced new words that fell into the same categories as the words that participants heard when they were awake.

The results showed that while participants were sleeping, they were able to process the words and group them.

 

This means that their brains processed all of the new information while they were sleeping, proving that the brain is functioning and learning even while the host sleeps.

Further research has shown that sleep deprivation in the elderly resulted in memory loss. This is because during sleep, important brain waves are released, which help in-memory storage. Furthermore, it was discovered that poor sleeping patterns in adults cause short term memory loss and forgetfulness.

 

A brain with all the neurotransmitters.

Physical exercise for brain development

 

At the opposite edge of the spectrum, it has also been found that physical exercise helps with brain activity. This is because exercising releases helpful chemicals to the brain and helps boost new neurological connections. Exercise also helps prevent health conditions, which would lead to poor brain growth and development.

 

Physical activity that will have the blood pumping is recommended in improving brain activity. These activities include aerobics, jogging, and other similar exercises. Activities that require good hand-eye coordination are also beneficial. Such examples would be tennis and golf. Another physical but fun way to train the brain is through dancing. Some research has proposed that learning new dance moves can increase the brain and memory.

What can be a better way to get a full-body and brain workout than to take up a salsa class. Or perhaps finally trying that hip-hop dance class?

Whether it's ballet, Zumba, or tap dancing, learning a new way to move will have your brain thanking you.

 

If physical exercise is not possible and not entirely your cup of tea, then worry not. Research has established that taking trivia quizzes is a great way to get the blood flowing to the brain without having to get up from the couch.

 

Trivia quizzes are good brain exercises

 

Trivia quizzes are very good for memory because they make use of the frontal cortex of the brain. This plays a massive role in the processing of memories. While trivia may seem like utterly useless information, it actually helps to stimulate the noggin'. Thus, trivia quizzes are actually mind-sharpening games. The fact that we are curious and interested to acquire new knowledge, enhances the learning and memory process in adults. It enhances your memory for trivia answers, which means you improve your general knowledge when playing trivia (and using your curiosity)  more than when facing incidental information.

Memory is one of the main components involved in answering trivia questions. Memorizing these "useless" facts and answers is essentially the purpose of trivia quizzes.

 

1. Who is the president of Zimbabwe?

2. Which country produces the most cups of coffee in the world?

3. What does the F stand for in the FBI?

4. How many stars are on the American flag?

5. Who played the character of Harry Potter in the movies?

 

Did you know the answers to those five questions? If not, did you look it up? In both cases, you exercised your brain by either forcing it to retrieve the information from your memory or giving it new information to store in its memory. See? It's that easy.

 

For daily brain training check the quiz of the day, it's updating with fresh questions every day. Of course, you can explore more trivia games, or just check out some quiz questions and answers.

 

Experts have also agreed that trivia quizzes can provide a dopamine rush, much like gambling but without the adverse effects. According to WebMD, dopamine is a form of neurotransmitter made by the body and used by the nervous system. Dopamine plays a significant role in how humans feel pleasure and are often called the "happy hormone." It's a big part of our ability to think and plan.

 

Some companies have taken these findings very seriously and have started using trivia quizzes to improve the mental health and overall performance of their employees. Trivia has been suggested to help improve cognitive performance and enhance the creativity of workers. The excitement (possibly dopamine) produced by trivia quizzes is also directly related to brain development.

 

How to improve memory and cognitive abilities with trivia

 

Cognition is defined as the mental action or processes involved in gaining knowledge. So basically, cognition and cognitive function help the brain learn and remember. Strengthening cognition will result in the brain being better able to learn and remember new concepts. Trivia is a great way to enhance cognition, and you can use trivia games to sharpen your mind. The multiple topics help exercise the brain by forcing it to recall unused information stored in your brain. It also helps improve knowledge when learning new answers you never previously knew.

 

It is also important to note the setting of most trivia quizzes - they are in a relaxed and comfortable environment. This allows for reduced stress levels, which will enable the brain to function at optimum capacity.

 

The world is a very stressful place, and many of us work in highly stressful jobs. In addition, the economy has many stresses over finances and bills. This constant state of stress can be very detrimental to the brain, especially memory. The brain responds to stress by producing hormones. These two stress response hormones known are known as adrenaline and cortisol.

 

These contribute to the fight or flight response. Adrenaline gives the body energy by increasing the heart rate while cortisol stops functions deemed unnecessary in a time of danger and stress. These hormones subside when the perceived threat or stressful situation has passed. Unfortunately, in the state of constant pressure led by most of us, the hormones stay in the system. An oversupply of cortisol lingers in the body, causing brain activity to suffer as a result. Thankfully trivia reduces stress and thus helps improve brain activity.

 

So rest assured that there is nothing trivial about trivia. Trivia games are excellent Brain training exercises, and Knowing random facts is good for your mental health.



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