Ways to give your mind a workout

We all pay attention these days to what we eat and how much exercise we do. We’re keen to preserve our youth, our shape and our vitality. But what about what’s going on inside – how do we keep our brains in good shape?

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by  PinkPersimon  Caption: Your brain needs exercise too

Online Gaming

You wouldn’t necessarily think that a simple game such as bingo could help keep the grey matter in shape, but different research over the years has shown that playing bingo is a great way to retain mental agility.

Today, many of us choose to play the easiest way, playing online at sites such as bgo and Tidy Bingo. Most people playing at bgo.com/bingo will play using the autodaub method, where the numbers on our cards which match the calls are ticked off automatically by the software. However, you can choose to keep up with the calls yourself and, on some sites, you can switch the autodaub feature off. But even just following the game mentally and visually will mean that you’re using your cognitive skills to look out for patterns and ensure that you spot any numbers to cross off in order to increase your chances of winning.

Of course, there are other games that can keep your mentally agile. Giving your brain different mental exercises and fun activities to work with may really help you in the future. According to research published by the New England Journal of Medicine, adults who participate in mentally stimulating activities are 63% less likely to develop dementia compared with those who don’t take part in those kinds of activities. Playing mentally challenging games can improve your memory as well as your mental agility.

Here are just a few brain workouts you can try anytime you have a few minutes to spare.

A day of opposites

Challenge yourself to use your non-dominant hand during a day to perform regular tasks such as brushing your teeth, brushing your hair and eating meals. So where you would usually use your right hand, substitute with your left, or vice versa. You could try writing – but it may take some time to get that letter down! With practice, performing basic tasks with the other hand should become easier, and this will enable your brain cells to form new and vital connections.

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Reverse counting

You may not like maths, but we can all count. Now try counting backwards to keep your brain on ‘its toes’. Start with 200 and count backwards, knocking five off each time (200, 195, 190…etc). Then start at 150 and subtract seven each time. Finally, begin in 100 and take away three each time. There’s nothing complicated about doing this simple subtraction work, but completing the task will give your brain a worthwhile workout.

Make up a story

See what kind of a story you can tell using only seven words. Not only will this utilise your creativity, but saying things in shorthand is a handy skill for Twitter and Facebook updates, too.

When you start playing these kinds of games to exercise your brain, you generally develop more of an appetite for them, and so there’s a snowball effect. The more you play, the more you’ll improve and the more your brain will be stimulated. One thing’s for sure – it can’t do your brain any harm to have a little more exercise!

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