Cognitive health is an important component of brain health and affects how we think, learn and memorize things. As we age, cognitive function might become impaired through deterioration or injury. There are also diseases that may affect our cognitive function, such as Alzheimer's and dementia.
In just 5 minutes, there are certain activities that can stimulate cognitive function.
Dancing is more than just a feel-good activity. The movement involves mental effort and social interaction, which are both important for cognitive function. Studies even suggest that dancing reduces the risk of dementia. Certain dance classes are known to improve mood and cognitive skills, both important components of cognitive stimulation. The study also shows that dancing is a known therapy for those with Parkinson's. Just 5 minutes a day can improve your mood and create new neuron connections.
Sudoku is a fun way to challenge cognitive reasoning, and this stimulation also has its benefits for long-term brain health. Research reveals that regularly completing Sudoku puzzles delays the onset of dementia. Its efficacy is well-documented, and it's used in the remedial treatment of those with neuropsycopathic disorders located in the prefrontal cortex, such as age-related cognitive decline.
The ability to play a musical instrument relies on the communication between both hemispheres in the brain. There's the logical part that needs to follow the sheet music or timing, and there's the creative side that focuses on the melody. This communication allows constant cognitive stimulation, which prevents cognitive decline. Learning a musical instrument even when memory decline has set in can be therapeutic, as the learning stimulates neuronal communication. This allows your brain to fire up neurons and stop further decline and, in some instances, even reverse it.
Chess is more than a game of strategy. It stimulates several brain functions at once, enhancing overall cognitive function. It enhances fine motor skills, which is helpful for those in recovery from a brain injury or stroke. The planning component targets the prefrontal cortex, which is the part that controls our reasoning. This stimulation can slow down aging in the brain because it encourages social interaction. It also develops semantic memory and procedural memory.
There's more to exercise than staying in shape physically. It also helps your mind stay in shape. This is because exercise is a learning process, and when you learn, your brain can develop neuron pathways. It also promotes well-being, which is an important part of brain health. Some exercise may also encourage you to problem-solve, which engages the ever-important prefrontal cortex.
Sometimes, all you need to stimulate cognitive function is to phone a friend. Loneliness can lead to maladaptive social cognition, which can have a negative effect on brain health. Social activities have an effect on global cognition, such as working and episodic memory. Phone a loved one or have a friend over for a cup of tea for a healthy stress reliever and a boost to your overall cognitive function.
There are several hobbies that require dexterity, memory recall and coordination. The combination of these stimulates cognitive function, reduces stress and improves mood, especially on completion of the tasks. Hobbies that are best suited to increase cognitive function include:
Intelligent cognitive rest is something that isn't practiced very often but that can be an effective antidote to a mind fatigued by the act of being busy. While memory games and stimulating hobbies go a long way, sometimes the brain just needs a break. Studies show that by allowing the brain to rest, you're better able to access cognitive responses such as memory recall.
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