Brain training is thought to go a long way in slowing the aging process. What exactly is brain training? Essentially, it means incorporating mental exercises that focus on the brain’s neuroplasticity (or ability to change and adapt) in your daily lifestyle. A new concept in neuroplasticity is being seen in combining physical and mental exercises to ultimately strengthen brain power over time.

We are able to increase our brain’s neuroplasticity at any time, simply by engaging in new activities and learning new skills. This new concept takes it one step further, combining our physical and mental exercises all at once.

For instance, working on a mind game such as Sudoku helps exercise the brain’s mathematical functions. However, research suggests that long-term benefits in the brain occur when there are multiple movements (Biscontini 2016). So, while you finish your game of Sudoku, consider performing a seated march in place. Another good example is trying to solve a moderately-complex math problem (without any paper) while exercising or walking. If you stop to let yourself think, you’ll notice that it becomes much easier and more comfortable to concentrate. However, this interferes with neuroplasticity training. The key is that any additional movement while performing a mental task is beneficial, no matter how big or small.

The separate benefits of physical and mental exercise on long-term brain health have been well-established. Over the years, we’ve learned more and more that mental stimulation (like crossword puzzles), aerobic exercise, and an active social life altogether contribute to an active brain. By combining neuroplasticity training with physical movement, studies show we can strengthen,
improve, and even change certain regions in the brain (Reynolds 2009). This is because you are training your brain to function in new and different ways while operating simultaneously with your body’s needs.

There are many ways to combine mental and physical exercise in brain training. Understand tasks your mind can accomplish while your body is in motion, and take control of your brain training.

Sources:
Biscontini, L. (2016, March). Fight Aging With Brain Training. Retrieved January 26, 2017, http://www.ideafit.com/fitness-library/fight-aging-with-brain-training

Reynolds, G. (2009, September 15). Phys Ed: What Sort of Exercise Can Make You Smarter? Retrieved January 26, 2017. http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/09/16/what-sort-of-exercise-can-make-you-smarter/