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Give yourself a brain workout!

Our brains are hardwired to seek out anything new and stimulating. Scientists explain this phenomenon as an evolutionary adaptation: early humans, who could spot a predator quickly enough to survive, passed on this novelty-seeking trait to their offspring and thanks to this selective advantage in brain evolution, something new always seems to grab our attention.

However, too much novelty can be unsettling, which is why humans are also such creatures of habit. We all have our routines: some of us eat the same breakfast every morning, take the same route to work each day and do only a certain type of crossword in only their favourite paper, all of which, whilst feeling quite comforting, can also be potentially damaging, as there are definitely some very good reasons as to why it’s important to mix things up a bit.

Experiments have shown that when we break our patterns and use our senses in more novel ways, we stimulate our nerve cells and thus contribute to the growth, strength and agility of our brains!

A good personal trainer will provide routines that include not just cardiovascular work, but also strength and balance training. Similarly, with the brain, by giving it a complete and thorough workout, you build your cognitive reserves, thus enabling your brain to grow new dendrites (the branches on the nerve cells that form the basis of memory).

Instead of aerobics, we talk about neurobics – with some very simple, yet quite distinctive exercises, you utilise the senses to help the brain forge new associations between disparate types of information (say, connecting a certain scent with a particular flower). Each of our senses occupies its own bit of space in the brain and unless you exercise all of these areas regularly, you are neglecting millions of neural pathways that need to stay fit in order to store and later retrieve information.

After only a brief number of such brain exercises – less than an hour or so a day for just one or two weeks, people talk of improved memories and greater clarity of thinking!

Maintaining good health involves a number of things: physical and mental exercise, wellbeing (I don’t like that word, stress!) management and a healthy diet. If you want to learn more about neurobics, contact us at Inspirational Winners and we’ll gladly show you how to fortify these strategies into your fitness regime – you can’t just work at the physical level if you want to enjoy the rewards of a healthy brain, too!

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