The brain is the most powerful organ of our body. Its one of the most complicated organ too. It defines our existence. The brain is responsible for how you think, feel, and act within your surroundings. It controls everything that you do even when you’re asleep. Simple change in any part of our brain brings major problems in us. Brain is just like a muscle. You do exercise, the muscle grows and expands. Its called hypertrophy. The opposite is called atrophy. The more we train our brain it becomes more efficacious.
Our brain continues to evolve even as we age and doing the right activities can help us get our brain into better shape. The loss of neurons is directly proportional to sedentary brain. Consistent efforts can prevent neuronal loss. Progressive loss of neurons cause several diseases like alzheimers dementia.
HOW TO TRAIN THE BRAIN
Like muscles we have to train our brain to keep it fit and functional. There are several ways to train your brain.
Research has shown that regular physical exercise is one way to improve cognitive functions like memory recall, problem solving, concentration, and attention to detail. Exercising for 20-30 minutes three times per week will improve your long-term memory. Physical exercise helps your brain stay sharp. It increases oxygen to your brain and reduces the risk for disorders that lead to memory loss, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Exercise also enhances the effects of helpful brain chemicals and reduces stress hormones.
When you read, your brain is doing a lot more than just deciphering words on a page. It slows down memory loss. It is a very good tool to train your brain. Now a days children read less. Visualization of same story as movie never provides same stimulation as reading an original paper book does. Besides this reading improves sleep. Bedtime reading of paper book limits screen exposure and helps in sleep initiation. Reading real story books creates good imaginative power in children which later increases their creativity. Along with that If you’re looking for a way to beat stress, grab a book and let your mind forget about your problems for a while.
MUSIC/ MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS
Music is a very nice tool for brain training. Some people, who had seemed unable to speak, proceed to sing and dance to the music, and others are able to recount when and where they had listened to that music. Music and instruments protect from brain atrophy. Listening to and performing music reactivates areas of the brain associated with memory, reasoning, speech, emotion, and reward. That’s why it feels good when we listen to music. Even those people who are suffering from post stroke speaking problem can sing because singing ability originates in the right side of the brain, people can learn to speak their thoughts by singing them first and gradually dropping the melody.
Studies show that learning a language increases the volume and density of gray matter, the volume of white matter, and brain connectivity. Multiple languages stimulate certain areas of brain. There are cognitive benefits beyond languages, such as for working memory. If languages are taught in earlier stages it has more efficacy in preventing brain atrophy. In children who are developed in joint families, they usually become multilingual due to effect from other people and culture. So if you want to train the brain of your child better than teach him a different language.
Meditation is an age old tradition for better brain health. It helps from decay of brain. Regular meditation of 30 minutes can have remarkable effect on brain. Meditation delays ageing. It brings better sleep and helps in focus. It increases attention and decreases stress. Short Meditation Breaks Can Help Kids in School. It can reduce social anxiety. For all these causes meditation is a very good tool to train your brain.
Chronic stress shrinks down the brain. Some bits of stress is good for goal directed behaviour. But prolonged stress is bad for brain. In children too chronic stress is detrimental for brain. Recently due to heavy competition the stress level of school going children have increased significantly. The childhood is a special time. It’s for creativity and exploration. Chronic stress doesn’t just lead to impaired cognitive function. It can also lead to other significant problems, such as increased risk of heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes. Other systems of the body stop working properly too, including the digestive, excretory and reproductive structures. Toxic stress can impair the body’s immune system and exacerbate any already existing illnesses.
PLAY SOME BRAIN GAMES
Brain loves challenges. The more we stimulate the brain the later it’s decay will occur. So brain games are good for brain training. From pen-and-paper Sudoku and crosswords to specialized brain training apps, options for brain games are plentiful. Brain training may help improve your memory, response time, and logic skills, although research shows that the relationship between brain training games and improved cognitive function is complicated. Sudo-ku is a very good brain game. It can be played anywhere by any age group. Other good games are crossword and word puzzles. These games can be played by any age group to prevent cognitive slowing. Another game is lumosity.
Brain training should be there in any age group. It will prevent destruction of brain cells. Our brain is a very active organ. We have to challenge it every day. We have to do some different thing everyday. Along with that we have to keep our blood glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol in check.
Take care of your brain. Otherwise one day might come, when you will have difficulty in recognising your own face and remembering your own name.
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Salopek JJ. Train your brain. Training & Development. 1998 Oct 1;52(10):26-34.