4 Simple Exercises to Keep Your Brain Sharp
Scientists have long believed that by the time we turn 21 our brains stop growing. Recent discoveries have proven this is not so. Every day and for our entire lives, our brains are evolving in response to our experiences, thoughts, feelings, and actions. Exercises like these can help keep your brain sharp and neurons firing.
Look at the World Upside Down
Jill Bolte Taylor, neuroanatomist and author of My Stroke of Insight, suggests hanging a familiar item upside down. It makes the brain work differently to get the information it is looking for. Try inverting your calendar, family photos, a map, or even a clock.
Turn On Your Ears
Paula Oleska, founder of Natural Intelligence Systems, uses this exercise to help people stimulate the left hemisphere of the brain. Ears are very important sensory organs, but they "switch off" with excessive noise, diminishing the amount of information being received. We can even experience temporary hearing loss or confusion from too much noise. This exercise turns the ears back on, improving clarity of hearing and overall alertness.
Firmly take hold of the tops of your ears and unroll the crease, pulling toward the back of your head. Repeat this movment, going systematically down through the whole ear. Repeat three or four times.
Paula Oleska, founder of Natural Intelligence Systems, suggests the cross crawl exercise to increase energy and stimulate memory and recall. By crossing the midline of the body, you activate the connections between the right and left hemispheres of the brain.
While standing, lift your left knee and touch it with your right hand. Then change to the right knee and left hand. Repeat for one to three minutes.
Vase-Face ExerciseIs it a vase or is it a face? Lynda Greenberg, a student of Dr. Betty Edwards, author of Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, suggests trying this classic right-brain, left-brain exercise. Follow these instructions exactly and watch where you get caught up. Print the image. Trace over the profile that is drawn for you, silently naming each feature as you trace it with your pencil. "Forehead, nose, upper lip, lower lip, chin, and neck." Do this twice. Next, complete the image yourself, using a pencil with an eraser so that you can correct errors. Do you find it challenging? Try the exercise online and read about what's going on in your brain when you try it.