We all know that exercise is good for our brain. But do you know, there is an entirely different category of exercise that is just designed for our brain. It is called Neurobics. They are the mental exercises designed to create new neural pathways in the brain by using the senses in unconventional ways.
Neurobics is the term coined by Dr. Lawrence Katz. It is the new science of brain exercise that was developed by Dr. Lawrence Katz and Dr. Manning Rubin. It is based on extensive scientific research . They also co-authored a book, which extensively gives insight into neurobics. These simple exercises are fun and challenging. They use the five senses (touch, sound, taste, smell and sound) along with emotions to help with our cognition and memory.
Neurobics works by challenging our memory, attention, logic as well as verbal skills and encourages us to disrupt our everyday routine. What happens during these processes is that we make use of underused nerve pathways and make new neuron connectivity. These exercises help to produce the natural brain growth nutrient called neurotrophins. This family of proteins increases the sizes and complexity of nerve cell connections, making the brain resistant to the effects of aging.
One of the ways to keep our brain healthy is by constantly learning new things and using our brain muscles in a way that makes new neural connections. A big part of how neurobics work is by using the right and left brain hemispheres for doing the activities that we usually use opposite sides of the brain for. This way we keep stimulating and making our brain work even while doing the daily routine work.
The main difference between the neurobics and other brain exercises (puzzles etc)is that the conventional brain exercises make us utilize the usual steps that we already know and thus use the same brain neurons. On the other hand, Neurobics makes us do the things that we may not be familiar with or do not do on regular bases. This stimulates and activates our neurons.
Listed below our some simple neurobics exercise for improving cognition and memory:
- Use your non-dominant hand for brushing: In doing so we activate the opposite side of the brain, which strengthens neural connections in our brain and even grows new ones. It’s similar to how physical exercise helps to grow and strengthen our muscles.
- Making new connections through smell: We probably don’t remember when we started associating the smell of freshly brewed cup of coffee with the morning. We can challenge and make new neural connections by placing the new fragrances like citrus, vanilla, rosemary etc next to us and sniffing on them first thing in the morning to make new associations.
- Read things outside your comfort zones: If you like to read soft romantic novels then try reaching out to read mystery novels for a change. Read something that will get you out of your normal thinking pattern . This way you will stimulate your brain and will think and comprehend in different ways than usual.
- Distinguish things through touch: We mostly rely on the visual ability to tell the differences between the things. So using touch to identify the subtle differences in the object can help stimulate our cortical areas that process tactile information and strengthen our synapses. You can do this by putting the spare change in your pocket and without seeing and only by touching identifying whether it’s a penny, quarter, dime etc. Or try learning Braille.
- Fun at the supermarket: Usually we go to the market with a list and know what is where. Next time try going to a different place and let your brain do some work in figuring out the items on your list. Alternatively you can simply go to the same place but then go to the isle you never go and scan through the items, pick something new and read about it. This way you have broken the routine and learned something new.
Now that you have read these exercises, it’s time to start including them in your everyday life. It’s never too early nor too late to start protecting your memory from declining by keeping the brain active and stimulated.