Your brain is much like your muscles. With a little bit of exercise, it shapes, builds, and grows…at least in cognitive function. If you aren’t a fan of crosswords or sudoku, have no fear. Here are some simple, easy-to-follow brain-building exercises developed by brain fitness instructor Ann Marina in her book Preserve Your Brain. Practice for 5 minutes each day, and you’ll notice a sharper, more dependable mind and body!
8 and Os
Master this exercise and you’ll definitely be able to walk and chew gum at the same time! Follow the steps below:
- Stand with your feet at a comfortable shoulders distance apart
- Raise your right arm in front of you, about chest level
- Begin drawing the number eight with your right hand
- Now, draw a circle with your left hand simultaneously
- After mastering four consecutive rounds, switch hands: left hand draws an eight while your right hand draws circles
You can also do this exercise seated, and shake things up by using your feet instead of your hands.
Drawing Visual 8s
Let’s move from the body to the mind with the following visualization exercise.
- Lie down or sit in a comfortable chair
- Close your eyes and clear your mind
- Keeping your eyes closed, being drawing figure eights with your eyes. If it’s too difficult to draw with both eyes at the same time, then focus on one at a time until you are ready to progress
- See how advanced you can get. Any chance you can draw an eight with one eye and a circle with the other . . . at the same time?
The combination of letters and numbers is a challenging workout for the brain and can help sharpen neural circuits.
- From a seated position, or lying down, close your eyes and visualize two columns with a significant space in between
- In the left column, draw in vertically A, B, C, D, E
- In the right column, visualize 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
- Moving your eyes side to side—but keeping your eyes closed—look from right column to left connecting: A-1, B-2, C-3, D-4, E-5, at least four times
- Now, go in reverse: 1-A, 2-B, 3-C, 4-D, 5-E
Once you’ve mastered those basics, get creative. Connect A-5 and B-4, or any other combination to challenge and reshape your brain.
For more brain exercises, check out Ann Marina’s book at Amazon.com.