5 tips to keep your brain sharp!

Did you know that both physical and mental training has an effect on memory and other brain functions?

1. Daily puzzle

Physician and neuroscientist Andreas Engvig has researched memory training, and found that daily mental memory training has a measurable physical effect on the brain. He believes that the brain becomes visibly bigger by training, just like a muscle. But just as with muscles, it has to be maintained for the effect to last. It must also be challenging enough to make your brain creak a bit. Key words for brain exercise is to break out of routines, vary how you do things a bit and think in new ways. Titillate the senses with new flavors, smells and sounds to create new associations. Activities like sudoku and crossword solving, reading, knitting and board games can also be good puzzles. But according to Engvig the training should be experienced as pleasurable for it to have a positive effect.

2. Eat healthy

To follow a so-called Mediterranean Diet, with more fruit and fresh vegetables, nuts and olive oil, can according to a study have beneficial effects on the mental skills – regardless of age. The subjects in this study had a whole liter of olive oil per week, which may not fit in with a Norwegian diet. A good supplement to a healthy diet is a daily spoonful of cod liver oil. Fish oil contains healthy omega-3 fatty acids that keep the brain healthy.

3. Learn a new language

In 2007 the Canadian researcher Ellen Bialystok presented results suggesting that learning and using several languages have a positive effect on brain function, compared to being monolingual. Learning a new language is thus a great way to exercise your brain, so just start the course you’ve always thought of!

4. Physical activity

Scientific research shows that exercise has a positive effect, by protecting the brain and make learning easier. One more reason to start using your body more! The best exercises are those that uses oxygen, such as jogging, cycling and brisk walking. It does not require high intensity, the important thing is that you exercise regularly and for at least half an hour a day.

5 . Begin to dance

A fun and rewarding activity that is a good brain teaser is to dance new dances together with friends. Learning the steps for a new dance stimulates large parts of the brain while you’re in physical activity, and not least – is very social!
Sources: Helsenett.no Norwegian Institute of Public Health , nasjonalforeningen.no, Norwegian Health Informatics, hf.uio.no

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