Mental exercises called Neurobics are proving effective* to enhance brain performance and improve mental fitness, including memory.
The term Neurobics was coined by late Neurobiologist Lawrence Katz and Manning Rubin, in their book Keep Your Brain Alive (2000), which describes a series of unique mental exercises designed to keep the brain alert.
In the book, Katz and Rubin reveal that unusual sensory stimulation and activities like non-routine actions and thoughts, produce neurochemicals, and encourage growth of new dendrites and neurons in the brain.
Routine actions become so automatic to the individual that most actions are done largely unconsciously. Such automated or unconscious actions require less activity in the brain, and thus less motive to 'think'. With the help of Neurobics, Katz and Rubin claim that these simple exercises can stimulate the brain, warding off such illnesses as Dementia and even Alzheimers.
Examples of Neurobics:
Brush your teeth and comb your hair using your non-dominant hand
Perform a series of tasks with your eyes closed: sorting large and small spoons from the dishwasher, dress and undress
Wear your watch on the opposite wrist
Walk backwards through your home (in China this is common practice in parks)
Look at photographs sideways or upside down
Find out what time your watch says, by looking at the reflection in a mirror
Change the route you take to/from work (great if you use transit)
Move your computer mouse to the opposite side of the keyboard that you're normally used to
It will cost you nothing to try these suggested exercises, and it's great "mind play" to teach Grandchildren. Plus, your right hemisphere will thank you.
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*From studies performed at Moses V. Chao Molecular Neurobiology Program, Skirball Institute of Biomolecular Medicine, NYU Langone School of Medicine.
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