That grey matter.
Did you know that the brain is the fattiest organ in the body? Or that you have about 70,000 thoughts per day? And although the brain only makes up about 2% of your body weight, it receives 15% of your cardiac output and 20% of oxygen consumption. Amazing!
Of course I had to look these interesting little facts up, but will I be able to retain them for recall at a later date? And how do we keep such an important organ in tip-top shape? Apart from obvious (generally being healthy) we need to exercise it.
Mental activity stimulates the creation of new neurons throughout our whole life, so exercising the brain a lifelong necessity. Making your brain stronger means that you can concentrate better, improve memory and learn more effectively. The more you use it, the better it gets.
Playing games, solving puzzles and decoding brainteasers are common methods of brain training. Additionally, mediation is proven to increase your IQ, relieve stress, and promote higher learning levels. Sports improve your cognitive function and music strengthens the brain and even changes its structure.
Specific brain training is used to help children on the Autism Spectrum or stimulate particularly gifted individuals. Such frequent training is also used to help recovery from brain injury and can delay the onset of dementia.
Research has revealed that spending just 15 minutes per day on brain training exercises promotes the growth of new brain cells. And playing these games on a computer, rather than with pen and paper, is twice as effective.
However, be warned; a lack of use can lead to a reduction in brain function. But the good news is that these reductions, as well as memory loss, are actually reversible. So, as they say, use it or lose it!