By now we are overloaded with resolutions for the new year – exercising more, eating healthier, meditating, etc. What about trying some “mini” workouts for the brain? They may not improve our headaches, or help us to lose a few pounds, but strengthening our ability to remember is an awesome gift we can give ourselves…….

Switch hands – Dawn Buse, PhD, a health psychologist at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City suggests brushing your teeth, eating cereal, or buckling your belt with your left hand. “These novel activities are stimulating novel parts of the brain,” she says.

Read out Loud – Reading a newspaper or book out loud stimulates parts of the brain that are not stimulated when reading silently. Buse says, “that’s the key to all of this, keeping different parts of the brain healthy and active and keeping blood flowing through them rather than breaking down connections.” Airline pilots actually remember their check lists better if they read them aloud – even without another pilot in the cockpit.

Change your font – According to one study, making text slightly harder to read is good for your brain. Try changing the font on your computer, adding italics, or moving a page away from your face so the text appears smaller. However, Daniel Oppenheimer, PhD, associate professor of psychology at Princeton University advises not to make the task too difficult, “that would be detrimental rather than helpful,” he says.

Learn ballroom dancing – Because it’s a physical and mental workout ballroom dancing is especially good for the brain – you need to be constantly thinking about your next move, as well as that of your partner. If ballroom dancing isn’t your thing, consider taking a cooking class, or learning a new language – it’s about challenging yourself in a new way…..  Health Magazine  January 2013


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