Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Neurobics: For Your Mental Fitness

I love solving Sudoku puzzles and I enjoy playing memory games.
These mental exercises are important in order to keep my memory sharp and to improve my mental alertness.

But are you aware that aside from doing puzzles, playing complex games and being involve in memory building activities, there is another kind of mental exercise, which we can practice and that is neurobic exercises.

I have read about neurobic exercises in an article written by Ronaldo A. Montilla, PhD in the Philippine Star.

Neurobic exercises according to Dr. Lawrence Katz, a Neurobiology Professor at Duke University Medical Center “ are exercises that chiefly present the brain with non routine or unexpected experiences using various combinations of your physical senses – vision, smell, touch, taste and hearing as well as your emotional senses. The combination or association of the senses including its emotional context is considered the building block of memory and the basis of how we learn. Creating new association pattern using the senses is, therefore the core of neurobics.”

Our brain craves for novel ways of doing things. It thrives on challenges and changes. When our activities become a routine, it presents little opportunity for brain exercise. Through neurobics, our brains are stimulated not only by our vision but also by our other senses such as hearing, smell, taste and touch. The presentation of two or more senses in different ways challenges and engages the brain, thus increasing our mental fitness.

Dr. Lawrence Katz, in his book “Keeping the Brain Alive,” which he co-authored with Manning Rubin, suggested 83 Neurobic Exercise to enhance our cognitive processes.

Here are some of the exercises posted in the article of Mr. Ronaldo A. Montilla.

1.Use your non-dominant hand in daily activities such as brushing your teeth, opening the tube and applying toothpaste, styling your hair, shaving, buttoning clothes, eating.
2.Read aloud with your partner. Alternate the roles of reader and listener.
3.Take a different route to work.
4.Learn Braille and Sign Language
5.Consider swapping cars with a friend who has a very different kind of car.
6.Close your nose as you try different foods.
7.Identify food on your plate only by smell, taste and touch.
8.With your neighbors and friends, get involved in a community projects.
9.Try a new sport.
10.Grow a garden
11.Communicate a thought or idea to someone without using your voice.
12.Travel to new places and meet new faces.
13.Prepare a meal accompanied with ethnic music.
14.Take a creative workshop, e.g. photography, painting, music, acting or whatever you’ve always wanted to do.

I am now learning how to brush my teeth with my left hand and I’m looking forward to the new dish I’m experimenting on this coming Sunday. I am trying out these new things plus a couple of other activities in order to practice neurobics. I want to stay mentally healthy and sharp

1 comment:

Martin Walker said...

Hello, Joy-Anne.

I saw an article about this in the NY Times recently. It mentioned that these exercises help train our willpower.

On a related subject, I think you would be fascinated by Susanne Jaeggi and Martin Buschkuehl's study on Improving Fluid Intelligence by Training Working Memory (PNAS April 2008) which recorded increases in mental agility (fluid intelligence) of more than 40% after 19 days of focused brain training.

I was so impressed that I contacted the research team and developed a software program using the same method so that anyone can achieve these improvements at home.
IQ Training Program

mind evolve, llc


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