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4 Ways to Exercise Your Brain

02.20.20 |

The Habits of Health Transformational System sets itself apart from the rest of the health world on a number of fronts, but one of the most unique aspects of our system is the way we address the mind. From the beginning, we have frank conversations around the choices you make each day and how to start noticing and reprogramming the habits that drive your day to day behaviors. If we don’t address our minds, change is often not sustainable because our underlying habits will pull us right back to the choices that put us on the road to disease in the first place.

But the health of your mind is about more than how it impacts what you eat or how much you exercise. If we harness the Habits of Health to live longer, more vibrant lives, we need our minds to make new memories, to be present to truly engage with the people we love.

Just as we exercise our bodies to slow the effects of aging, so should we exercise our minds. On this front, hundreds of researchers are trying to learn exactly what we should do to preserve the health of our brains. We don’t have the exact recipe yet, but the current science is pointing strongly in a few specific directions (hint: it aligns with what the Habits of Health have been preaching for years!).

Here are some of the key ways to promote brain health:

  • Follow the Habits of Healthy Fuelings. When we provide our bodies with the right nutrition, our brains benefit. 
  • Follow the Habits of Healthy Motion. Regular physical activity helps our brains to function more optimally.
  • Challenge your brain. When we learn new skills or read books or have in-depth discussions, we force our brains to work and adapt, which helps to keep them healthier.

Those are broad ideas with a lot of details hidden within them. For the full breakdown, you can open your copy of Dr. A’s Habits of Health, but for now, let’s look at what you can start doing today to exercise your brain while you continue to forge your other Habits of Health.

Here are four ways you can exercise your brain:

  1. Pick up a new hobby. Any time we learn something new, our brain creates new neural pathways, an important aspect of brain health. A new hobby will challenge your brain to learn new skills and engage your mind.
  2. Use your non-dominate hand. As silly as this sounds, this is a great way to burn calories and to challenge your brain. It’s a great way to get more return on your household chores, so try doing a simple task like vacuuming with the other hand the next time you clean!
  3. Read a book. For me, reading is one of my secret weapons, and I encourage everyone to try to read more. If you don’t have a reading habit yet, it’s okay to start small. Try to read one page of a book a day before bed to begin building the habit.
  4. Meditate. Last week, I wrote about mindfulness meditation, so feel free to click back to that article for a full explanation. In short, meditation helps to reduce stress and can improve your decision-making, both of which can lead to big rewards for your brain.

I hope this gives you something to think about and opens the door to new Habits of Health. If you’ve begun this journey and have experiences to share with the community, please post in the comments below!