By Dr. Maoshing, a Health Expert for Alternative Medicine
“Think of your brain as a muscle: It gets stronger with exercise. Try these simple exercises to boost your brain power and clear away the fog of forgetfulness.”
- Use your non-dominant hand
Tackling new tasks improves brain capacity in younger people and has a restorative effect on mental faculties that are declining. Boost your brain power right now by performing everyday activities with your non-dominant hand. If you are right handed, use your left hand to eat, drink, comb your hair and brush your teeth.
By exercising your brain through the use of the non dominant hand, you are stimulating the opposite side of the brain and activating blood flow, which slows down the brain aging process and improves mental capacity. Evidence from functional brain imaging shows that the process of neuroplasticity – the brain’s natural ability to form new connections- can be enhanced by studying new things.
- Work out your brain
You have to use it or lose it! You can work out your mind just like you work out your body. Mental exercises that will keep your brain fit include doing crossword puzzles, playing chess. or memorizing names, shopping lists,and phone numbers. Learn the words to a poem or a new song and repeat them back from memory. Set aside the calculator and add manually instead. Keep challenging yourself with tasks that are new to you.
Whatever mental exercise you choose, the key to success is to practice every day at the same time. You are developing and activating new neural pathways, and consistent cycles will keep the brain on track.
- Move your fingers to improve the brain
Many people marvel that Asian children seem so intelligent. It could possibly be because they use their fingers more frequently. They eat with chopsticks and compute with an abacus in school. In fact, some studies have been done with children who use an abacus daily and finding show that engaging the fingers stimulates nerve endings that go directly to the brain, increasing circulation. Take advantage of this by practicing motor activities that use your fingertips,like crocheting, knitting, and other arts and crafts where you are manipulating small parts. Perhaps try the piano or a stringed instrument.
Here is an exercise you can do anywhere, at any time.
Put one finger on top of the one next to it, then try to stack the next finger on top of that. Or hold a pencil or pen between your index and middle fingers, roll it over until it is balanced between the middle and ring fingers, then again to between the ring finger and pinky. This exercise has a beneficial impact on brain health for anyone at any age, but especially for people in their 40’s,50’s and beyond – when signs of brain aging starts to set in.
Why does this work? A map of the brain shows that the nerve endings on your fingertips correspond to more areas of the brain than any other body area, except perhaps the tongue and lips. Therefore, finger exercises and movements can be useful in stimulating the neurons in the brain.
The researchers concluded that finger exercise contributed significantly to brain plasticity, the ability of the brain to renew itself, increased circulation means more oxygen and nutrients for the brain cells and decreased waste products that clog up the brain.
- Stimulate brain acuity with self massage
To improve concentration and memory try this self-massage that stimulates two easy to find acupressure points on your neck and at the base of the skull. Cross your hands behind you with your palms cradling the back of your head, your thumbs in the grooves on each side of your neck and your index fingers crossing one another below the skull, just above the thumbs.
Sit in a chair, lean your head back, and let it rest against the pressure of your thumbs and index fingers.
Slowly inhale deeply through your nose and exhale through your mouth, letting your whole body relax.
Do this for three to five minutes. You’ll increase blood flow to the brain and at the same time relax the neck muscles which often tense up in response to stress, constricting blood vessels in the area.
“May you live long, live strong, and live happy”……Dr. Mao