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Easy Ways to Improve your Brain and Keep it Healthy

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posted on Apr, 21 2011 @ 04:00 PM
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Everybody knows you need to exercise your brain right? Whether it be reading, doing puzzles, meditation , and even playing video games, all these mental exercises work out different areas of the brain that you may not use during your day to day routine.

Turns out there is a lot more you can do to keep your neurons firing better and even increase your memory and speed.




This is an exercise that can strengthen neural connections and even create new ones. Switch the hand you are using to control the computer mouse. Use the hand you normally do NOT use. What do you notice? Is it harder to be precise and accurate with your motions? Do you feel like you did when you were first learning to tie your shoelaces? If you are feeling uncomfortable and awkward don’t worry, your brain is learning a new skill.
Try other neural building and strengthening exercises with everyday movements. Use your opposite hand to brush your teeth, dial the phone or operate the TV remote.



Menial tasks like doing things with your non dominate hand can create new pathways and neural function. Physical exercise is something that makes us feel good about ourselves and help with our physical well being. Until just recently I didn't realize that physical exercise had a big correlation with excercising the brain. Dopamine and other feel good chemicals are released during a physical work out


You may have heard the term “mind-body connection” as it applies to remarkable stories of healing without surgery or stress management, but did you know there is actually a physical connection between the brain and muscles? It is called the neuromuscular junction and chemical exchanges that happen at this junction are the key to your ability to move.



One study that caught my eye was from the Clevland Clinic Foundation, involving exercising your muscles with your mind.


In a fascinating experiment, researchers at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation discovered that a muscle can be strengthened just by thinking about exercising it. For 12 weeks (five minutes a day, five days per week) a team of 30 healthy young adults imagined either using the muscle of their little finger or of their elbow flexor. Dr. Vinoth Ranganathan and his team asked the participants to think as strongly as they could about moving the muscle being tested, to make the imaginary movement as real as they could. Compared to a control group – that did no imaginary exercises and showed no strength gains – the little-finger group increased their pinky muscle strength by 35%. The other group increased elbow strength by 13.4%.
What's more, brain scans taken after the study showed greater and more focused activity in the prefrontal cortex than before. The researchers said strength gains were due to improvements in the brain's ability to signal muscle.3
Pay attention to your breathing. Is it slow and deep, or quick and shallow? Is your belly expanding and contracting, or is your chest doing all the work?


Amazing that your brain has the power to preform these tasks that used to be viewed as pseudo science.


Neurobics™ is a unique system of brain exercises using your five physical senses and your emotional sense in unexpected ways that encourage you to shake up your everyday routines. They are designed to help your brain manufacture its own nutrients that strengthen, preserve, and grow brain cells.
Created by Lawrence C. Katz, Ph.D., a professor of neurobiology at Duke University Medical Center, neurobics can be done anywhere, anytime, in offbeat, fun and easy ways. Nevertheless, these exercises can activate underused nerve pathways and connections, helping you achieve a fit and flexible mind. Try to include one or more of your senses in an everyday task:4
Get dressed with your eyes closed
Wash your hair with your eyes closed
Share a meal and use only visual cues to communicate. No talking.

Combine two senses:
Listen to music and smell flowers
Listen to the rain and tap your fingers
Watch clouds and play with modeling clay at the same time

Break routines:
Go to work on a new route
Eat with your opposite hand
Shop at new grocery store.


I suggest you check out the link to visit the full article and check out the other material made available . There's quite a bit of great information on there regarding studys of the brain and cognition.
I hope some of you will find the information beneficial and it helps you better yourself.
Thanks for reading.
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posted on Apr, 21 2011 @ 04:20 PM
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i made a thread about this a while back, here are my favorite:

if you feel nervous, one way to change your thinking is to take a small object and toss it back and forth from hand to hand, supposedly when people feel nervous or panicked its because there brain is locked into that state and supposedly this unlocks it, i dunno about the science behind this but it has worked for me

another is if you feel emotionally unbalanced, whatever the cause, be it stress, anger etc. you can do something that involves logic, such as solving math problems, or playing a game of chess this will switch your brain from its emotional state to its logical state, supposedly its impossible to sustain bad feelings when you do something that is strictly logical

the last is my personal favorite, it involves a bit of psychology (i hope ya'll don't mind). basically this one takes some time, but it's definitely worth it. it's a trick to cure nervousness, stage fright, fear and unconfidence etc. what you do is whenever you feel good, or basically the opposite of the feeling you want to avoid, you associate it with a unique gesture. for example if you are unconfident, whenever you feel good and confident do something that's not a normal body gesture, like wrapping your index finger and your thumb around your wrist (just an example, but you can use this one), and repeat this every time you feel confident. then when the time comes and you have to face your fear, if you feel it creeping in, do your gesture and feelings of confidence as well as past memories of when you felt confident (those times when you did the gesture) will rush in. as i said this one takes a little time, but it's not hard to put into practice and it does work.



posted on Apr, 21 2011 @ 04:35 PM
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nice post,just what I need.thanks,I'll save it and study it later.

nice tips from you too empty o mind,esp the one where you link a gesture with a good feeling,thats genious and I think it would def work too.



posted on Apr, 21 2011 @ 05:28 PM
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reply to post by emptyOmind
 


Thanks for posting and your contribution. Being able to control your thoughts and concentration in times of stress is a good topic too. If you will post a link to your thread I would love to read it.



posted on Apr, 21 2011 @ 11:07 PM
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This was a terrific thread! I'm currently on medical leave for stress & anxiety (I work at mental health - go figure!) I'm going to use a few of these tricks to beef up my mental "teflon" and performance.

A few of the concepts you presented I was familiar with (just different names/activities but same principal). But you put it in such a way it's easier to understand and do.

Thank you for a much-needed boost!



posted on Apr, 22 2011 @ 12:15 AM
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Originally posted by Angrybadger
nice post,just what I need.thanks,I'll save it and study it later.

nice tips from you too empty o mind,esp the one where you link a gesture with a good feeling,thats genious and I think it would def work too.


My thoughts exactly. Both the OP and FP were good.
Great idea for a post. Loved the visuals. Saving the page!



posted on Apr, 22 2011 @ 12:35 AM
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Great info all around!!!
I got my degree in Psychology(and was Pre-Med) with a minor in Philosophy so this is right up my alley!
And I'm also a professional dancer/choreographer/instructor (Have been technically trained for 23 years)
Here's my two cents....

D
A
N
C
E
!!!!!!!!
Not just prancing around in your living room (though this is great for the psyche!)
GO TAKE AN ACTUAL DANCE CLASS/LESSON!!!
In any genre- ballet, lyrical, hip hop, jazz, ballroom (which I suggest for those with no prior dance training- it's physically less strenuous, greater availability, and you'll be in a class with other adults)

It's been shown time and time again, study after study, that dance is not only one of the best cardiovascular exercises, but also one of the best for exercising the brain


Plus- it's WAYYYY more fun than running on a treadmill or climbing endless stairs on the stairclimber.


edit on 22-4-2011 by ltinycdancerg because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 22 2011 @ 12:58 AM
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excelent post, is all very logical but with the work and stress some time you need someone help to open your eyes

Thanks



posted on Apr, 22 2011 @ 10:29 AM
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reply to post by ltinycdancerg
 


Thanks for the post! I never thought of dancing. With all of the complex moves and coreography I would imagine the brain would always be learning something new. Great idea. I have studied martial arts for years and I would imagine the correlation to either art would be similiar. Keep dancin



posted on Apr, 22 2011 @ 12:09 PM
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In addition to the benefits of physical exercise, studies have shown that listening to music while exercising helps exercise the brain even more, compared to those that didn't.


Exercise is good for the body as well as the psyche, according to scads of scientific research. But here's a new wrinkle. If you listen to music while exercising, your brain will probably work better too.Clinical psychologist Charles Emery of Ohio State University has studied the effect of exercise on various types of patients over the years, and to no one's surprise he has found that it helps in many ways. So along with Evana Hsiao and Scott Hill of Ohio State, and David Frid of Pfizer, Inc., Emery put his theory to the test, with the help of 33 men and women in the final weeks of a cardiac rehabilitation program. Each of the participants were tested for mental performance after exercising without music, and exercising with music.
The results were very convincing. Vivaldi Tested, But Not Limited
On average, the participants performed more than twice as well on a verbal fluency test after listening to music while exercising than they did after exercising without the music.
"When there was no music, there was no change," Emery says.

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posted on Apr, 23 2011 @ 09:00 AM
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I shamefully am giving my thread a bump. It appears that people liked the information presented, but somehow fell through the cracks into the place where threads go to die.



posted on Apr, 23 2011 @ 08:15 PM
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I'm going to start using the computer mouse with my left hand and brush my teeth, etc.. with my left hand. Will also try that excersice with your mind thing



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