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6 Ways to Keep Your Brain Sharp

Posted on 06/18/21 By Lorman Team


Career-oriented professionals often hear about the necessity of continuing education and goal-setting to advance within a profession. But in order to improve your skillsets and increase knowledge, it's critical that you keep your mind healthy and sharp.

Why Should You Keep Your Brain Sharp?

Challenging your brain regularly can have incredible long-term effects. Below are three reasons why it's important to keep your brain sharp:

1. Increased Memory Capacity

When you keep your mind sharp by challenging it to learn new things, your brain works harder. As a result, your memory capacity increases.

In a 2006 study, it was discovered that London taxi drivers had a larger hippocampus (the area of the brain that forms and accesses memories) than London bus drivers. This was because the taxi drivers had the daily challenge of finding and navigating numerous streets on demand, unlike bus drivers who follow a set route.

2. Enhanced Cognitive Capacity

By regularly challenging your brain, you're improving and strengthening the connective tissue in your brain's neurons which helps them perform better and quicker.

This process, known as neuroplasticity, is how your brain expands its capacity. Put simply, neuroplasticity, which is also called "brain plasticity", is your brain's ability to go through physiological or structural changes.

3. Delayed Mental Decline that Occurs from Aging

Although cognitive decline is usually inevitable with aging, it's possible to delay the symptoms and beat the odds for developing dementia and other forms of memory loss.

Just by doing some simple, well-constructed brain exercises, you can improve neuroplasticity. As a result, you stand a greater chance of overcoming the decline of mental functioning that naturally occurs with aging.

Rubix cube on white desk

How to Sharpen Your Brain

1. Challenge Your Brain with Mental Exercises.

One of the main ways to sharpen your mind is by doing mental exercises. This stimulates your brain cells, causing them to communicate with one another.

Solving the Rubik's cube can be an excellent cognitive exercise. You could also learn a new hobby or foreign language. Learning new skills, mentoring others and volunteering are some other ways to challenge your brain.  

2. Repeat Information

When trying to recall something you've just read or heard, repeat the information out loud as well as write it down. This helps to reinforce the new facts in your memory. However, don't just repeat the information several times and then not review it later. Instead, plan to go over it again shortly.

In other words: space it out. Review your new information every few hours throughout the day, every day, until it becomes embedded in your mind. When you space out periods of study, you're helping to improve your memory. Thus, repetition works best when it's timed correctly.

3. Read More Books

People who read a lot of books are better at recalling information than non-readers. That's why you should read more books and publications on a wide variety of subjects.

Rather than wasting hours vegging out in front of a TV or texting on your phone, check out books to read at your public library. You can also find a vast array of books on virtually any topic from eBooks.

4. Engage More with People in Challenging Games

In addition to challenging yourself with games, include other people. When you participate in interactive, challenging games and activities with others you're 65% to 75% more likely to remain sharp and prevent memory disorders from occurring, such as Alzheimer's and other neurodegenerative diseases. Dancing is another type of social interaction that helps in sharpening your brain.  

Light bulb hand drawn on yellow paper pinned to a corkboard

5. Make Schedules

Consider how today's business world is exceptionally competitive and busy. That's why making schedules should be a requirement for your personal development growth rather than an option.

In short: time management is of extreme importance if you want to advance in your personal and professional development. What's more, learn to prioritize as some jobs require more urgency than others.

6. Get Quality Sleep

Even if you do everything possible to improve your cognitive abilities, your brain still won't function as well as it should if you fail to get enough sleep.

Getting quality sleep can help your brain recover after a hectic day at work. Try to get at least seven to eight hours of sleep although everyone has different needs.

Key Takeaways

  • Just as it takes effort to maintain a healthy body, the same principle applies to keeping your brain sharp and healthy.

  • To get the most benefit from your brain, exercise your brain regularly with training and learning.

  • In addition to benefiting your career, a sharp brain can also postpone cognitive decline later in your life.

Invest in Continuing Education

Since 1987, Lorman has advocated for adult learning in a wide range of training topics. Our extensive library offers convenient online CE programs, as well as an assortment of on-demand training courses and materials.

Get a jump on greater mental acuity with our course "Building Memory Skills: Tips and Techniques for Instant Recall."

 

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