How to get a whole brain workout

There is no single recommendation for exercising your brain to keep it healthy. “What you want to do is challenge your brain in different ways so you’re using different kinds of brain functions,” explains Baycrest cognitive rehabilitation scientist, Dr. Nicole Anderson.

If you want to get into good physical shape, you wouldn’t just lift a dumbbell with one arm, she says. Likewise with cognitive activity, if you’re only doing crossword puzzles, you’re only working one part of your brain.

Examples of exercises for a whole brain workout:

Crossword puzzles

Brain process you’re working:
Verbal memory retrieval from factual knowledge

Joining a volunteer board or planning a dinner party

Brain process you’re working:
Problem-solving (planning and organizing)

Interior decorating, reorganizing a room in your house, exploring new areas in the city where you live or travelling to a new city and trying to find your way around

Brain process you’re working:
Visual spatial

“There’s no magic activity,” adds Dr. Anderson. “It’s just daily life. Involve yourself in activities that you’re not already an expert at, that are challenging for you, and that you enjoy.”

Photo © Mark Bowden

INSIDE THE LAB: Bilingualism delays onset of Alzheimer’s symptoms
INSIDE THE LAB: Having difficulty finding the right word?
INSIDE THE LAB: Hydration key to good brain health
INSIDE THE LAB: Walk your way to better brain health
INSIDE THE LAB: Debunking brain myths: Does size matter?

INSIDE THE LAB, is brought to you by ZoomerMedia Ltd. and Baycrest, the global leader in innovations for aging. INSIDE THE LAB is the place to go to get the latest in research and breakthroughs and all that you need to know for the journey of aging. From brain health and nutrition to caring for your loved ones, INSIDE THE LAB is your source for reliable, informative and up–to-date information.