HomeHealthHealth Conditions

Everyday mind exercises to keep you sharp


1st Jan 2015 Health Conditions

Everyday mind exercises to keep you sharp

Your brain is a muscle and we all know that to keep your muscles in good shape, you need to exercise them. The mind is no exception and it's important to keep it in good shape. Regular mental exercise can help to stave off dementia, depression and much more.

Keeping co-ordinated

A great way to work on your hand-eye co-ordination (which is controlled by the brain) is to make sure you spend plenty of time on your motor skills. It's not as boring as it sounds though - this could include chopping veg, taking up embroidery or unleashing the big kid in you and investing in a colouring book.

There are lots of colouring books for adults available, following the example runaway success of the Secret Garden book by Johanna Basford. Colouring is a great way to relax and de-stress too, so you'll find yourself feeling happier and healthier on all fronts!

Perplexing puzzles

Keeping your mental dexterity is especially important as you get older, and puzzles are an excellent way to keep your grey matter in tip-top condition.

You might have been put off sudoku in the past if you don't enjoy maths, but never fear - they're actually a logic problem to be solved. Once you've got the hang of basic level sudoku, you can crank the challenge up a notch and try some harder ones. Many newspapers also publish variations on the theme, so there are plenty of options to make sure you don't get bored.

Don't let your vocabulary fall by the wayside either; by doing a daily crossword you can keep those more obscure words right on the tip of your tongue. Again, you'll find plenty in the daily newspapers, but they vary a lot in terms of content and difficulty. Don't just pick one you like and stick with it, make sure to mix it up and keep your brain as sprightly as you are.

Make your memory work

Kim's Game used to be a staple of birthday parties and children's groups but it's also a helpful way to improve your memory and observation. To play, simply ask a friend or family member to put fifteen or twenty items on a tray and drape it with a tea-towel or a cloth.

Uncover it for one minute and try to remember all of the items on the tray, then cover it back up and try to list the items you have seen. If it's too easy, add more items to the tray or reduce the time that you leave it uncovered. The name of the game comes from the Rudyard Kipling novel Kim, in which the eponymous hero uses it to train as a spy. If it's good enough for a spy, it's good enough for us! 

There are also a multitude of apps and online games you can play to give your mind a workout and keep it sharp. So, what's your favourite way to train your brain?