7 Ways to Use Neurobics to Exercise Your Brain

Mini mental workouts that can enhance memory.


Senior friends keep their brains active.

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Exercise is good for your heart but did you know that it can be good for your brain too. Unlike the usual stretches, crunches or even cross training, there are specific exercises that are designed to brain train.

These exercises, are designed to create new neural pathways by using your senses in unfamiliar ways, according to the Whole Brain Health website. These mini mental workouts called neurobics is part of a new science of exercise that was developed by Dr. Lawrence Katz and Dr. Manning Rubin who cowrote the book Keep Your Brain Alive. Neurobics is based on scientific research.

The brain exercises help with cognition and memory through the five senses. The main difference between neurobics and other brain training exercises like puzzles and word games that utilize things you are already familiar with is that neurobics challenge you  to use your brains in a different way. Neurobics make you do things that you may not do on a regular basis.

Just like muscles that go unused, your brain can too. Not exercising your brain can decrease your cognitive strength and memory, according to The Healthy. But beginning a brain exercise routine can make new brain connections and dramatically help your memory and cognition. Try some of these seven brain exercises.  

Use your opposite hand
Give your brain a good workout by using your opposite hand, suggested mindbodygreen, especially when you are doing a mindless task like brushing your teeth. That’s because using your nondominant  side will cause you to go off autopilot and use your brain.

Activate passive activities
You can make a passive activity like watching TV, mindful. Instead of just watching a show, exercise your mind by trying to put yourself in one of the character’s shoes. Think about what you would have done in the same situation. See if you can learn something from the character.

Turn off Waze
The next time you have to go somewhere you have been before, leave your GPS device on off. Rely on your memory instead. “I just want people to trust their brain again,” memory coach Jim Kiwk, shared on a mindbodygreen podcast. “So many people lack confidence because they lack mental competence.” You probably know instinctively how to get there, even if you take a longer route.

Connect through smell
Smell is a very important sense and it is directly linked to memory, according to Whole Brain Health. Many people associate morning with the smell of fresh coffee brewing. You can make new neural connections through smell if you train your brain to do so. Simply place new fragrances like citrus or vanilla next to your bed and sniff them in the morning to help your brain make new associations.

Use Your sense of touch
Most people usually rely on vision but those who are blind use touch to identify objects. You can use touch to identify differences in things and that will help stimulate the cortical areas that process tactile information. Try putting spare change in your pocket and then touch the coins to identify what they are. No peeking.

Switch up your morning activities
Most people do the same morning routine. But a brain exercise from The Healthy suggests changing it up. Instead of getting dressed first, try eating your breakfast in your PJs. Walk your dog or take a morning run on a new route. Or leave your car home and bike to work. This is a good way for your brain to learn something new.

Make more social connections
Loneliness has a negative effect on your brain and your cognitive abilities. The best way to keep your brain healthy is by making more social connections. Buy your morning coffee at a kiosk instead of a vending machine. Eat lunch with a colleague instead of at your desk. And go to the checkout at your local market instead of using the self-checkout lanes. These interactions will help keep your brain healthy and give you a memory boost as well.

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