Getting a whole brain workout
There is no single recommendation for exercising your brain to keep it healthy. “What you want to do is challenge your brain in different ways so you’re using different kinds of brain functions,” explains Baycrest cognitive rehabilitation scientist, Dr. Nicole Anderson.
If you want to get into good physical shape, you wouldn’t just lift a dumbbell with one arm, she says. Likewise with cognitive activity, if you’re only doing crossword puzzles, you’re only working one part of your brain.
Examples of exercises for a whole brain workout:
- Activity: Crossword puzzles
- Brain process you’re working: Verbal memory retrieval from factual knowledge
- Activity: Joining a volunteer board or planning a dinner party
- Brain process you’re working: Problem-solving (planning and organizing)
- Activity: Interior decorating, reorganizing a room in your house, exploring new areas in the city where you live or travelling to a new city and trying to find your way around
- Brain process you’re working: Visual spatial
“There’s no magic activity,” adds Dr. Anderson. “It’s just daily life. Involve yourself in activities that you’re not already an expert at, that are challenging for you, and that you enjoy.”
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