Brain Training: How Does It Work?
For more than a thousand years, our comprehension of the human body, how it works, and how to fix it when one or a multiple of its systems stop working has come a long way. The bulk of this understanding has emerged in the last couple of centuries. Researchers in medical sciences and newer branches of medicine, such as psychology, have taken the understanding of how our internal organs function to a whole new level. But until recently, the brain and how it functions remained elusive.
Emerging research indicates that mental and physical stimulation can improve brain functions, such as concentration, memory, and speed of completing tasks. This means that you have every reason to keep your brain active through brain training, but how do you go about it? Here is everything that you need to know.
A Brief Look at Scientific Evidence on Mental Training
Before looking at some of the best mental training activities, it is important to know what researchers have to say.
In one of the recent studies done by Akili and published in The Lancet Digital Health journal in June 2020, researchers found mental training to be an effective method of addressing attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children.
The study involved more than 600 kids with ADHD and resulted in the development of EndeavorRx treatment, a type of digital prescription treatment that has now been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
In another study published in the Brain Imaging Behaviour journal, Stephanie and his co-researchers established that for some individuals, participating in cognitive activities that are pertinent to game playing can be useful in preventing the development of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) by preserving brain structures as well as cognitive functions that are vulnerable to AD pathophysiology.
Earlier on in 2014, the conclusion of a study entitled “The Impact of Sustained Engagement on Cognitive Function in Older Adults” supported the argument that brain training can help to improve memory function.
The study established that sustained engagement, especially in cognitively demanding activities, helps to improve memory function in adults.
From the emerging research findings, it is clear that you can enhance mental functions, prevent or treat common mental disorders through mental training.
Elements of Good Brain Training
There are a number of components that make brain coaching effective, and you should look for a program that incorporates as many of them as possible.
When you visit a medical expert in Hong Kong, a mental test will be administered to gauge your performance. Then a personalized training that is unique for you is created. Note that even if a specific program delivered fantastic results for another person, you should not simply jump into it because people’s mental capabilities are different.
A good training exercise should be crafted to target a specific brain function to improve your everyday life. With this specificity, improvement in your mental function will be pretty fast and easy to quantify.
As with most things in life, practice makes perfect. So, a good brain training program should have daily training sessions of approximately 15 minutes. They should also be motivating. Try getting those close to you, such as family members and friends, to join, and the whole program will be a lot easier and more fun.
Studies have demonstrated that if a task is not challenging, the brain can easily get bored and even automatize the procedure. This means that after some time, the task will not be challenging.
When you intensify the challenge, such as shifting to the next level of a computer game, the brain is also challenged and will remain at its peak performance.
Brain Coaching Activities that Work
In the same way an athlete engages in strength and conditioning by exercising specific groups of muscles in the cardiovascular and respiratory systems, repetitive memory exercises hold the key to strengthening and conditioning mental functions. Here are some of the best activities for mental training:
Whether it is putting together 1,000 pieces of a giant tower or bringing together 200 pieces to create Tom and Jerry, working on a jigsaw is a good way to train and strengthen your brain. Doing jigsaws recruits multiple cognitive abilities and serves as a protective factor for visuospatial cognitive ageing.
Try Playing Cards
When last did you play a game of cards? One of the researches done in 2015 found that playing cards can help stimulate mental activity, resulting in greater volume in some brain sections. Playing cards also helps to improve thinking and memory skills. Some good card games to consider include solitaire and crazy eight.
Build Your Vocabulary
Rich vocabulary makes one sound smart. Besides, you can also turn vocab lessons into mind stimulating sessions. When doing vocabulary tasks, more regions of the brain, especially those related to visual and auditory processing, are involved. Here is one of the most recommended cognitive-boosting vocabulary building activities:
- Have a notebook when reading.
- Pick an unfamiliar word when reading, and then check its meaning.
- Try using the vocabulary about five times the next day.
Learn a New Skill and Teach It to a New Person
Apart from being fun and interesting, learning new skills can strengthen neural connections in your brain. In older people, learning new skills can also improve memory.
To further improve your brain functioning, consider teaching the new skill to a new person. Because training another person requires you to explain the core concepts and correct mistakes they might make, you have to practice more.
These are only a few of the recommended activities for brain coaching. Others might include dancing, playing music, using all the senses, and using a new route.
Brain Training : Let’s go!
To improve your focus, memory, concentration, and mental agility, you need to put more focus on your brain health. With more studies showing the effectiveness of brain training, you too should not be left behind in using it to improve your mental abilities.
To make the process more effective, work with a medical professional in Hong Kong who will check your mental performance and recommend the best activities.