Brain training as we know it is the act of doing mental exercises to stimulate brain functioning and cognitive development. Most of today’s brain training package would include puzzles and logic games, flash cards, video games and other thinking exercises.
In theory, all these mental exercises are thought to generally improve mental acuity in such areas as memory, concentration and reasoning. They are thought to reduce the effects of Alzheimer’s-related symptoms and slow down the mental effects of aging.
As attested to by MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), people who did their daily mental exercises have shown improved memorization skills.
However, today’s medical practitioners believe that brain training does not depend wholly on mental exercises which were used to stimulate the brain and develop further its cognitive power.
Just like regular programs for regular individuals, brain training was found to be most effective when all of the five interdependent components are carried out in full.
These components are physical training, emotional balance, mental workouts (the actual brain exercises), nutrition and food supplements and healthy lifestyle.
Like the rest of the body, your brain is affected by physical exercise. Basically, brain stimulation is the secret in keeping your brain vital and supple.
The simple reason is that neurons need more oxygen than any other body part to function well. Study results have shown that physical exercise provides enough blood flow to meet that need. It also provides glucose and other nutritional needs for the neurons.
Among other things, it had also been proven that exercise increases cognitive brain functions, enhances learning, boosts memory and keeps away neurodegenerative diseases. (Exercise stimulates growth hormones that helps revitalize neurons.)
Nutrition and diets
Again, based on research data on brain nutrition, restricted-calorie diets can increase the life expectancy of your central nervous system. Researchers believe that restricting intakes of calorie triggers some mechanism that allows neurons to live longer.
Recent studies indicate that the Mediterranean diet (lots of fruits and vegetables, olive oil, moderate dairy and red meat, eggs and wine) tops the others as the most ideal so far. The same goes with antioxidant-rich food such as spinach and green cabbage as well as blueberries and raspberries.
Other brain foods include those rich in selenium and folic acid like whole wheat and lima beans. Flax, nuts, and foods with nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids (in most cold-water fish) are also very good.
Emotional balance and healthy lifestyle
Emotional balance is usually attained if a person has a healthy outlook in life. A good sense of humor and a healthy sense of curiosity and open-mindedness on everything around make for a good start in a person’s emotional balance.
Even at an advanced age, a person should always keep a normal healthy lifestyle. Everything in moderation goes a long way to maintain one’s health.
Certain substances such as caffeine (in coffee and tea) have been scientifically validated as “super-fuels” for the brain, giving a short-term boost to functions such as vigilance and memory. Some studies also indicated there may be positive long-term effects when these substances are consumed in moderation.
All in all, the brain exercises and the other components of brain training should be carried out together to get their full benefits.