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  • Writer's pictureDr. Mohita Shrivastava

Boosting Cognitive Health: Here’s 10 simple exercises to benefit from!

Updated: Apr 4



In today’s competitive world a lot of importance is being given to the cognitive health. Cognitive health is associated with one’s ability to think, learn, attend, focus, remember, to create, along with problem solving & strategic planning.


Cognitive abilities are, therefore, vital component of performing everyday activities or activities of daily living. Dominion of cognition might involve decision making, flexible thinking, problem solving & memory as the relative strengths for someone and sustained attention, focus & creativity might be most notable for some.


Our brain regulates multiple functions such as information processing, emotions, cognitive abilities like memory, intelligence, focus & attention, mental flexibility, and creativity. To enhance the functioning & connectivity of brain, it is recommended to make use of relevant activities & exercises thereby preventing stress related or age-related cognitive decline.


Multiple evidence from scientific research suggests that good cognitive functioning is

associated with lifestyle changes or external factors as well as challenging & stimulating

brain using cognitive exercises & activities. Little changes may indeed add up & as a routine could help improve cognitive abilities. The external factors attributed to better cognitive health are healthy diet, regular exercise, adequate sleep, mindfulness, social networking and reduced stress. Besides, there are also cost-effective simple activities & easy to do exercises available for cognitive strengthening with some initiative and effort by an individual.


1. Learning language or improving personal vocabulary: Helps in memory building,

improve ability to comprehend, reasoning, sustained attention & focus


2. Learning new skills like musical instruments, culinary skills, photography, music,

or art: Improves concentration & focus, attention, memory, and creativity


3. Playing board games like chess, carom, card games : Improves perceptual

abilities, mental flexibility, working memory, planning & reasoning. Board

games like Trivial Pursuit build factual memory, monopoly game

improves mathematical, financial, and strategic planning skills.


4. Puzzles & Crosswords: Crosswords, sudoku, & jigsaw puzzles challenge the

brain’s innate ability of perceiving patterns, complete sequences, and solve

problems & help improve abilities like reasoning, planning, organization &

memory.


5. Playing video games: It helps to enhance attention, cognitive flexibility &

problem solving. Adventurous 3D video games significantly improves

attention, short-term memory, and reaction time/ response time &

processing speed.


6. Dancing: It aids planning & organization as it is a form of exercise that stimulates

brain region involved in rhythm & balance.


7. Practicing Tai Chi: It is a kind of physical exercise that involves gentle body

movements, rhythmic breathing, and meditation and helps in improving memory

and increased brain connectivity among various regions involved in cognitive

functioning.


8. Visualization: Creating a mental image to represent information in different

forms (pictures or animated scenes) helps in organizing information and

improves decision making.


9. Travelling & exploring new sites: Travelling near or far destinations help us to

explore new scene, sights, sounds, and experiences making new neural

connections & improving memory circuitry


10. Cultural adaptation: Participating in or watching novel films, plays, poetry

readings, museum tours, etc. presents brain with challenging & stimulating ideas

strengthening new neural connections by rewiring.


It is advisable to assess from time to time your cognitive strengths and weaknesses and

prepare a simple roadmap, a kind of mindful ledger where you would want your

cognitive abilities to reach. By choosing the ones needed to improve the most, you can

enhance your cognitive health and functions by employing strategies as discussed above.


 

Dr. Mohita Shrivastava is a guest writer and associate trainer of Calmfidence Academy. She is an internationally trained neuroscientist & a neuropsychologist and Founder of the  ‘Cognitome Program‘. She holds a Ph.D. degree (Neuroscience) from AIIMS, New Delhi, India & completed her collaborative Ph.D. research training from Kansas University Medical Centre, Kansas, USA. She holds two master’s degrees, one in Biomedical Sciences from University of Delhi and other in Applied Clinical Psychology from Annamalai University.


She also holds an Advanced PG Diploma in Applied Neuropsychology from University of Bristol, United Kingdom. She has also completed a refresher skill enhancement training on "fMRI in Neuroscience Research'' organized by MGH Athinuola Martino's Centre for Brain Imaging in collaboration with Harvard University, MIT, Massachusetts, Boston, USA in 2021.


She has been involved in neuroscience and neuropsychology teaching, research, projects & outreach, cognitive skills restructuring/training and brain, mind & behavior, guidance, counselling for more than 12 years. She has also published various research & review articles in international peer reviewed journals.


For more information visit: www.cognitomellc.com

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