How to Cross Train Your Brain
Training your brain is no different from physically training your body to keep it fit and healthy. If you engage a physical fitness trainer, they will have you focus on working one group of muscles one day, and a different group of muscles the next. In this way, you are less likely to injure yourself and you are more able to balance your strength and stamina.
Brain exercises is good for keeping your mental faculty sharp. You should start by sorting the exercises according to which brain hemisphere you’re toning. For most people, left-brain functions include logical analysis (reasoning), drawing, conclusions), information sequencing (making lists, organizing thoughts), language and speech, reading and writing, counting and mathematics, and symbol recognition. The right hemisphere gets involved in spatial tasks such as reading maps, staying oriented and finding our way, as well as in artistic and musical abilities, face recognition, depth perception, dreaming, emotional perception and sense of humor. In left-handed people, these hemispheric functions are reversed.
Ideally, you want to work both hemispheres, and you may want to alternate your mental aerobic stimulation program from left hemisphere to right hemisphere. A recent study showed how a specific form of right brain activity like reading maps can effect the size of the hippocampus, a key brain region involved in spatial memory.
In this investigation, London taxi drivers spent two years studying for a difficult exam about the city streets. When the taxi drivers were asked to imagine a specific route in the city, a brain scan imaging study showed that the hippocampus was working. These same scientists have recently reported that the size of the hippocampus in these taxi drivers is larger than average and that its size varies directly with the number of years on the job. Other studies have found that it need not take two years to demonstrate training benefits. For example, University of Rochester researchers found that playing video games for only 10 days can result in improved right-brain performance scores. Our goal in mental exercises is to build both sides of the brain and alternate such right-brain exercises as mazes and map reading with left-brain verbal and logic tasks.
Everyone should create some kind of mental exercise routine to help build brain efficiency over time. Here are some tips to get you started.
You will tend to stick to your mental exercise program if you keep it fun. Select activities that you know you’ll enjoy. Activities like playing a musical instrument, reading books on topics you find interesting, playing computer games or solving brainteasers or puzzles. It has not been proven that one form of exercise is more effective than another so go for one that you find enjoyable. When building up your mental capability, start with simple exercises and gradually move on to more challenging ones. In this manner, you can build and tone your brain muscles to have mental stamina and efficiency. The mental stimulation exercises should be fun yet challenging. People with jobs that demand a lot of mental work like accountants, engineers and doctors may wish to play down or even avoid a daily mental workout. It may be a good idea to have more emphasis to balance such a mentally demanding lifestyle. You should work both sides of your brain and your mental exercise program should work both the left hemisphere and the right hemisphere.
You may also wish to learn memory training techniques that requires both right and left hemispheres to be exercised. Such memory training techniques not only help you improve your memory, but also help you in your study skills at school or enhance your mental state in your work life. Also, you’ll find that it will also help in your daily life helping you cope with anything from remembering your child’s schedule, planning dinner, to remembering what to buy at the store.
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Martin Mak –