You should start thinking about your brain health earlier than you think! Learn what you can do to preserve your mental powers at their peak—including some smart brain exercises for memory.
If you’re a Millennial or a Gen Xer, you might already be rolling your eyes at the idea that you have to take care of your brain now. But the reality is, cognitive decline starts way earlier than you think!
Some aspects of cognition start going south as early as your mid-20s and 30s, and information-processing declines even earlier.
Even if you’re younger than that, it’s never too early to start protecting your mind! The sooner you get into the habit of nurturing your noggin and doing brain exercises for memory, the more you benefit from the hard work.
Like any part of your body, your brain can benefit from using it more regularly.
“But I’m using it right now!” you say.
Well, true. But when we use our brain intentionally in different ways, we give it a pretty solid workout that can help improve functions like:
- Short-term memory
- Emotional intelligence
- And more!
What’s more, there are activities (like doing a puzzle or playing a brain-training app) with scientific research backing up their effects on brain function and structure.
Your mind does a lot for you, so it’s time to give back and treat it with some TLC!
At what age should you start thinking about cognitive health and doing brain exercises for memory?
We said it once, and we’ll say it again: It’s never too early to start protecting your brain health. It doesn’t matter how old you are; start making a plan to work your mental prowess right now!
That being said, different cognitive abilities peak at different ages. For instance:
- Information-processing peaks around age 18 or 19
- Short-term memory peaks around 25 to 35
- Facial memory peaks around 30
- Emotional intelligence peaks around your 40s or 50s
- Crystallized intelligence peaks around your 60s or 70s (this is the accumulation of fact-based knowledge that you develop over most of a lifetime)
What can you do to slow brain decline?
Some research suggests that we can reverse or slow the brain changes (like shrinkage) that lead to cognitive decline as we grow older. For instance:
- A 2013 study found that “intensive cognitive activity may have a limited effect” on brain shrinkage.
- A 2012 study found that “sustained experiential demands on spatial ability protect hippocampal integrity” and concluded that “mental stimulation may have direct effects on neural integrity.”
- A 2004 study compared groups of jugglers and non-jugglers to find “a significant expansion in grey matter” in people who learned to sustain a three-ball cascade juggle for 60 seconds (but all participants lost those gains within 90 days if they stopped practicing their new routines).
And that’s only a tiny cross-section of the research available about this! You can find countless studies describing the effects of different activities and exercises on brain health.
The consensus is that using your mental powers is the best way to keep them!
It doesn’t matter what the activity is as long as it’s cognitively stimulating—you don’t HAVE to become an all-star juggler for the rest of your life to avoid brain fog and memory loss.
You just have to pick something that gets your brain working in ways it usually doesn’t get to explore!
Check out these five brain exercises for memory and better cognition:
1. Train your brain with apps and games
Downloading an app is a fast way to get a quick brain-training sesh in whenever you have five minutes to spare. Some top picks on the Play Store and App Store include:
- Lumosity: This app sets your baseline with a 10-minute Fit Test and tracks your progress at increasing memory, attention, speed, flexibility, and problem-solving through science-based games.
- Elevate: Billed as “your personal brain trainer,” Elevate includes over 35 brain games and recommends sessions three times a week.
- NeuroNation: A winner of the Google Best Apps award, NeuroNation provides a personal training plan based on your mental strengths and potential, progressing through 250 levels.
2. Lose a few hours in a jigsaw puzzle
Puzzles are a great way to develop your spatial reasoning skills by spending a few (hundred) hours figuring out where each of several hundred (or thousand) ambiguous little pieces belong!
Even better, a 2018 study concluded that “jigsaw puzzling strongly engages multiple cognitive abilities and long-term, but not short-term jigsaw puzzling experiences could relatively benefit cognition.”
3. Dig out that deck of cards in the junk drawer
If you only play card games when you’re chilling at poker night or hanging out with your great-grams at the retirement home, you might want to think about finding a regular card buddy.
A 2016 study suggested that the cognitive actions you take while playing card games “may help prevent Alzheimer’s disease by preserving brain structures and cognitive functions.”
4. Bust a dance move
Dancing could help you preserve your emotional intelligence, aka the cognitive ability to recognize and manage your emotions and those of others. In a 2012 study, Latin ballroom dancing “was found to enhance positive emotional states and general levels of satisfaction” for people with dementia.
5. Learn a new skill or hobby
Picking a new skill (and sticking with it) makes you use your mind in brand-new ways. When you’re learning, you’re strengthening brain connections, practicing memory recall, switching between tasks, and much more.
A 2013 study suggested that long-term engagement in a new and challenging activity “enhances memory function in older adulthood.”
Power your brain booster exercises with a little chill from Sunday Scaries
Need help getting motivated to stretch your brain in new directions? Find something fun to boost your drive to do a couple of brain exercises for memory, go to a weekly yoga class as a beginner, or find a new buddy to play hearts with you. And maybe what you need is a little CBD to go with your mental workout—it’ll take the edge off so you can just focus on, well, focusing!
At Sunday Scaries, we only use the very best CBD we can find from the local Denver, CO area, and it’s all double-tested, so you know exactly what you get.
Subscribe to Sunday Scaries broad-spectrum CBD gummies or whatever’s your Scary style—also check out our CBD oil tincture and Vegan AF gummies. You’ll get 20% off your monthly shipment plus free shipping right to your door!