We often hear that one of the best ways to stay healthy is to exercise regularly. Doing so, helps us maintain a younger appearance and does a world of good on our internal organs too. Yet, while physical exercise is important, we also need to keep our brain working in good condition. Here are 4 simple exercises that will help to preserve your memory and other cognitive functions, well into old age.
1. Multicolored text
Here are a list of words written in different colors. Starting with the topmost word, say the name of the color in which the word is written, aloud. At the end of the list, name each color again in reverse order.
At first, you may find this exercise to be challenging as the sections responsible for text perception and color perception are located in different hemispheres of the brain.
Why: This exercise helps to prevent Alzheimer's disease by establishing new connections between the hemispheres/improving concentration and attention-switching abilities.
2. Schulte Table
Focus on the number 19 at the center of the square. Your goal is to find the number 1 and then all the remaining numbers in ascending order. Fix your gaze on each number in turn. When this table becomes familiar, you can draw your own table, arranging the numbers in the cells randomly. Alternatively, you can search for Shulte tables on the internet.
Why: This exercise increases the reception and processing of information speed and develops peripheral vision.
3. Finger gestures
On the fingers of the right hand, make the 'peace' sign, while simultaneously making the 'OK' sign with your left hand. Then change the arrangement of the fingers so that your left hand shows 'peace' and your right, 'OK'. Repeat the exercise several times then perform it with both hands at once.
Why: This exercise trains attention and develops the ability to quickly switch from one task to another.
4. Bimanual synchronous writing
Grab two pieces of paper and a pair of easy-to-use writing utensils. Then, proceed to draw geometric shapes with both hands at once. You can also write letters or words. Just ensure that the number of characters is the same for either hand.
Why: Synchronous writing teaches your brain to simultaneously handle multiple tasks, stimulating both hemispheres of the brain.
Bear in mind:
The following advice is suggested by Lawrence Katz, who has developed a system of exercises to help your brain maintain its functions into a ripe old age. In his book he suggests:
1. Perform mundane, everyday rituals, such as brushing your teeth or combing your hair using your non-dominant hand.
2. Take a shower and perform other routine activities with your eyes closed.
3. Change the routes you use to commute to work, go to the shops or other regular destinations frequently.
4. While watching a movie turn off the sound and rely on the actors' gestures and movements to guess what they are talking about.