a computer generated image of a human brain.

13 Best Brain Exercises to Make Your Brain Sharper

Amber Murphy

As you age, your brain will start to decline. Fortunately, practicing some brain exercises every day can help delay that decline from happening. There are many ways you can keep your mind sharp and healthy, such as learning a new language or practicing guided meditation. The following list of brain exercises can help improve your mental performance with little effort or strain, so you can confidently practice this form of self-care today.

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13 Best Brain Exercises to Make Your Brain Sharper

1. Learn a new language

Learning a new language can help stimulate your brain since you’re learning new words and phrases. When you learn something new, the brain synapses fire differently from learning something familiar. By learning a new language, your brain will pay more attention and make new connections between synapses in your brain. You’ll also increase the gray and white matter in your brain, as that’s what learning a new language helps develop. Plus, it increases the connectivity of your brain as well.

The easiest way to start learning a new language is to try speaking to someone who speaks the language you are trying to learn. When asking them questions about their language and culture, your brain will begin to make new connections between the new language and you.

Also, by visiting a country for two to three weeks, you’ll slowly pick up a few words that you’ll be able to communicate just by making an effort with locals or comparing an English menu to an international language menu. After a while, you’ll be communicating new words in a new language.

You can also use apps or language dictionaries, which are a great way to start learning the basics of a new language and a fun way to practice your new skills.

brain exercises in language

2. Read more books

Reading books can help improve your memory and creativity, making it a great brain exercise. Reading helps the brain form new memories, which can help make you a better learner in any subject you choose or help out with your writing process.

Also, when you’re reading, many people associate the act of learning from the book itself. By getting into the habit of reading more, you’re putting yourself in a growth mindset to learning and challenging yourself.

Reading before bed can also have many benefits. It can help you unwind and fall asleep faster, escape into other worlds, make you feel good, and even form a nighttime routine. The brain needs as much rest as possible, and reading can help you do that each night.

Reading helps activate the parietal lobe, which is responsible for turning letters into words and making sense of those words. Reading can also enhance your writing skills. It also helps develop the occipital lobe, which processes visual information.

3. Take up a musical instrument

By taking up a musical instrument like the violin or piano, you can help your brain better pay attention and think creatively. It’s well known that musicians have superiority in many areas of their mental functions, including memory, attention span, and creativity.

Just like when you’re talking to someone who speaks a different language, you can also involve the instrument in your daily life by playing it in public places, learning songs, and listening to music that you like. With musical instruments, there’s no limit to the amount of theory you can teach yourself, and the muscle memory you’ll improve from a new type of instrument will stimulate your brain in ways that will heighten your mental capacity.

Playing an instrument is one of the brain exercises you can do to develop your occipital lobe. However, playing an instrument is like a full-body exercise as it activates the whole brain when you’re playing it. Playing an instrument also promotes neuroplasticity which means that the brain can change. And it helps delay the brain’s aging by allowing it to age in a healthy way.

learning an instrument

4. Start jigsaw puzzles

A jigsaw puzzle is a great brain exercise game to play if you want to help give your brain exercise. You can create your own puzzle online and work to solve it once it delivers to your home. There are many puzzles you can purchase that have 1,000 to 10,000 pieces to challenge your brain.

The act of finishing the puzzle will be rewarding as it gives you a sense of accomplishment. It will help your brain get some needed exercise as well. Working on and finishing puzzles is a great way to engage your brain and reduce the stress that accompanies many other activities in life.

This brain exercise of finishing puzzles helps connect brain cells, enhances short-term memory, and increases your brain’s speed.

5. Exercise

When you go to the gym, you’re making it possible for your brain to engage in two things: using its muscles, the same ones it uses when you move around in everyday life, and also using its thought processes. Don’t work your body out too much for your brain because this can leave you feeling exhausted and stressed out.

Instead, make sure that you do some light exercise that doesn’t leave you feeling burnt out. By exercising your body, it will help to stimulate your brain and to get it ready to engage in other activities. Some of the best physical exercises for improving brain function include swimming, dancing, and rollerblading.

This brain exercise of physical exercise has numerous benefits, such as reducing inflammation, decreasing insulin resistance, and stimulating brain chemicals for healthy brain cells. Exercise also helps boost memory, improve mood, and reduce overall stress, making this brain exercise worthwhile.

brain exercises of running

6. Practice yoga

All types of yoga have wide-ranging benefits on the brain. The best part about yoga is that it’s an entirely natural way to help the brain. Don’t worry about hurting your neck, spine, or any other body part trying to learn yoga, as you can modify the stretches in any way and for anyone, even someone with joint problems.

When you perform a yoga routine, it helps the brain open up new pathways and stimulate your mind and body in ways that you never imagined possible. It’s an easy way to get your brain moving and help it feel better all day, even if you do a simple yoga routine.

Yoga is an excellent brain exercise because it activates mental energy, promotes creativity, affects acupuncture points that play a role in the brain’s gray matter, and more.

7. Start cooking complicated recipes

If you feel that your brain is losing some of its power, you might consider picking up a recipe or two that requires more detailed measurements and more complicated steps.

Taking the time to learn a new recipe can be beneficial because it will help improve your memory over time and allow you to expand your food vocabulary. Cooking is one of those activities that enable us to relax in many ways, especially by using fresh ingredients and making something new.

Did you know that some scientists believe that the brain grew in size when humans first started cooking meat centuries ago instead of eating it raw? So, don’t be afraid to explore new ideas in the kitchen; it might just be what pushes humanity forward.

cooking healthy meals

8. Meditation as a brain exercise

Practicing a guided meditation is a great way to improve brain function as well. It’s something that has been used for thousands of years to help people relax and become more present.

If you’d like to start meditating, you can use an app like Declutter The Mind to help you get started. Even just shutting your eyes and breathing deeply for 5 minutes a day can help open up your mind. Shallow breathing has negative effects so focus on deep breaths. You’ll notice your ability to be relaxed will improve, as well as an overall improvement in your memory. Meditation has other benefits, too, including helping with pain, creativity, and stress relief.

If you’ve never tried meditation before, you can check out these meditation videos or follow along to some meditation courses to help you get started on this brain exercise.

How does this brain exercise benefit the brain? Well, meditation makes the pre-frontal cortex thicker. You’ll also reap benefits, such as better concentration, decision-making, and mindfulness.

If you feel as though your brain has lost some of its focus, then you might want to consider trying the practice of mindfulness. Mindfulness is a great way to help reduce stress and improve your attention and reaction time.

Mindfulness means being present in every moment without getting lost in thinking about the past or future. It’s a technique that can help to improve attention and concentration.

9. Study something new

Learning something new is a great way to enhance your brain exercises. If you’ve been in the same job for years or the same type of work, you might want to consider picking up something new that will give your brain a boost. For example, taking an online course, enrolling in a few university or college classes, or changing job fields, can be a great way to learn something new. You can learn a lot by pushing yourself in new directions throughout your career to help you become more well-rounded in areas of interest.

You can also consider taking a class at night school or even reading books on subjects that interest you. It’s important to remember that the more you expand your mind and learn new things, the easier it will be for your brain to perform better daily.

How does this brain exercise affect the brain? Well, learning something new causes the brain’s neurons to form new connections while making existing pathways stronger or weaker.

10. Take up chess

Chess is an ancient game that dates back hundreds of years. Thousands of people worldwide enjoy the strategy involved in the game, and it’s one of those activities that can help your brain perform better over time.

Many people enjoy playing chess online or at their local chess clubs. It can help improve brain function because it requires strategic thinking, planning, and critical thinking. These brain benefits make it a great game to play with friends or yourself to help your mind stay sharp.

exercising the brain with chess

11. Practice concentration brain exercises

If you find that your ability to concentrate starts to slip, you can practice more brain exercises that will help improve your focus. There are many ways to practice concentration, and it’s important to find ones that work for you.

One thing that many people do is use their favorite coffee mug for a concentration activity. The reason behind this is its shape. It has a concave bottom that makes it easier for your mind to imagine the contours of the mug. Doing this helps improve concentration and focus as well as attention and attention span. After starting simple, you can try to focus on more advanced shapes and concepts in your mind to improve your attention span.

12. Turn off distractions

Most people find that they get too distracted when they are trying to focus on something. If you find that you’re letting your mind wander away from your focus, then try turning off some of the distractions around you, such as turning off the TV or your computer before working.

Final thoughts on brain exercises

As you can see, there are many ways to improve concentration and attention abilities via brain exercises. The key is to find something that works for you and keep doing it until it clicks. We have covered a lot of information about improving your attention span and memory through brain exercises. These brain exercises won’t work instantly, but they are very effective for anyone. So try out these methods and see what works best for you.

As you start to notice improvements in your mental sharpness, you can modify these brain exercises to suit your needs better. Also, as you become more adept at these brain training methods, you may want to switch gears and start exploring more profound meditative techniques.

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