5 Ways to Increase Your Cognitive Performance

February 5, 2018

As we age, our brains seem to start to lose several functions we rely on every day. Our memory, motor function, and ability to learn new things slowly deteriorates. However, there are ways that we can help slow down or outright prevent brain deterioration or cognitive diseases like Alzheimer’s. Here are a few ways to improve your cognitive function so you can get the most out of your brain throughout your life.

Be more active
One of the easiest ways to improve your memory and cognitive function is to simply not sit around. In 2013, the Boston University School of Medicine published a report showing that regular exercise increases the amount of memory improving hormones into the bloodstream.

Entertain yourself with puzzles
There is a reason why older people tend to like to do crossword puzzles and word games. They know that doing puzzles that challenge their brain to create new connections in the brain. It is also beneficial to switch puzzles once you have mastered one type of puzzle. Word puzzles are not the only ones that will help. Number puzzles like Sudoku or cryptogram puzzles will do just fine.

Play card and board games
Another way to improve your cognitive function while having fun is to play board and card games that rely on strategy. Games like Risk, chess, or Monopoly can help retain cognitive function. Any games that involve learning new things, like Trivial Pursuit, can also be beneficial.

Use meditation
A 2013 study by Harvard’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center showed that using meditation can improve the stress level of patients and can hold off the effects of diseases like Alzheimer’s Disease. The study showed that stress can affect the hippocampus, the area of the brain that deals with emotions, learning, and memory, thus leading to a higher risk of Alzheimer’s.

Get lots of sleep
Studies have shown that when people sleep, their brains enter a reorganizational mode that creates new gray matter in the frontal lob of the brain. The frontal lobe controls things such as working memory and executive function. Poor sleep quality and frequent interruptions during sleep reduce the amount of gray matter that forms during sleep.

Improving cognitive function now can help avoid deterioration later in life. By keeping your brain busy with puzzles, learning new things, practicing meditation, and getting plenty of sleep can help stave off degenerative effects of aging and other diseases. Doing what you can now to improve your brain will ensure a better experience later in life.

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