You may or may not know this, but your brain is like a muscle and in the same way you exercise your body to maintain a level of fitness and health, you should also be exercising your brain to improve your cognitive abilities and maximise your brainpower!
Now, you’re probably thinking, that’s all well and good but how do I lift a barbell with my brain?
Fortunately, exercising your brain is a little bit simpler than this and there are a number of ways you can flex your brain ‘muscles’. In this article, we’ll focus our attention on to 3 simple ways you can stimulate your brain to harness your brainpower.
To begin let’s gauge an understanding of what brainpower is.
The Cambridge dictionary definition for brainpower is:
“Your intelligence or your ability to think”
- Solving this problem has taken all my brainpower.
Walk It Off
Being physically active has a plethora of benefits for your body, but it also has great benefits for your brain. A study conducted by the University of British Columbia found that aerobic exercise does wonders for your cognition. Researchers found that regular activities such as walking help to increase the size of the hippocampus – the area of the brain which is involved in your memory and learning (Godman, 2014). It doesn’t just stop at walking, any activity which gets your ticker pumping like swimming, climbing or dancing will have similar benefits.
Eat a Mediterranean Diet
With so many diets and meal plans floating around in the mainstream media, it can be difficult to know which one is the best one for you. Studies suggest a Mediterranean diet is an ideal way to bump up your brainpower. It consists of consuming large amounts of fruit, veg, legumes, cereals and olive oil, moderate consumption of fish, dairy products and low consumption of poultry, red meat and wine (with meals, of course). Researchers of one study found that consuming a Mediterranean diet is good for both brain and body; It can lower inflammation, reduce risk of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease and improve cognitive function (Luciano et al., 2017).
Train Your Brain
Another effective way of boosting your brainpower is through brain training. Several studies have been carried out which highlight the long term positive effects of using computerised cognitive training. Dr Barbara Sahakian of Cambridge University designed a game called Decoder in partnership with Peak – Brain Training which aims to better cognitive abilities and enhance sustained attention. Sahakian and her team of researchers found that Decoder was a “superior” form of cognitive training and is an “effective method for enhancing attention” (Savulich et al., 2019).
It doesn’t just stop there, there are numerous other things you can do to boost your brainpower by treating your brain like a muscle. Finding what’s best for you will help to improve your cognitive functions and boost your memory, attention, language and problem-solving skills.
BrainPower Research Sources Cited:
Godman, H. (2014). Regular exercise changes the brain to improve memory, thinking skills – Harvard Health Blog. [online] Harvard Health Blog. Available at: https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/regular-exercise-changes-brain-improve-memory-thinking-skills-201404097110.
Dictionary.cambridge.org. (2019). BRAINPOWER | meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary. [online] Available at: https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/brainpower.
Luciano, M., Corley, J., Cox, S., Valdés Hernández, M., Craig, L., Dickie, D., Karama, S., McNeill, G., Bastin, M., Wardlaw, J. and Deary, I. (2017). Mediterranean-type diet and brain structural change from 73 to 76 years in a Scottish cohort. Neurology, 88(5), pp.449-455.
Savulich, G., Thorp, E., Piercy, T., Peterson, K., Pickard, J. and Sahakian, B. (2019). Improvements in Attention Following Cognitive Training With the Novel “Decoder” Game on an iPad. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, 13.