by Paul Joseph
Co-founder of Health and Fitness Travel
We all know the importance of maintaining a healthy body, but do we know how to keep a healthy mind? It is essential to stimulate your mind, by enhancing creativity and memory performance. However, it's normal to forget things and as we age this will happen more, some people have better memories and recall information faster than others. At school I used to be terrible at maths, but I improved by practising every day, showing the importance of challenging your mind to change by learning different techniques and exercises.
If you find yourself struggling to remember important information, birthdays, where you left your keys or where your car's parked, then it's vital to improve your cognitivity. Follow my 5 tips to sharpen your mind and boost your brain power.
Exercising will increase your heart rate and get blood pumping round your body to your brain, which helps memory performance and concentration. I aim to do 4 hours of exercise a week, alternating between cycling, swimming, kickboxing, kettlebell workouts and circuit training. Practising yoga is also very good as it improves mental awareness. Mix up your work-outs as repeated activities will slower your chances of improving your memory due to your body going into auto-pilot whilst exercising.
Healthy eating will boost your brains mental power, allowing cells to flow easily around your body. Skipping meals can lead to lower concentration levels so I always make sure I eat 3 meals a day. Foods that can help increase brain power include: blackberries, apples, spinach and salmon as they contain powerful antioxidants that protect your cells. Chewing sugar free gum can also help to sharpen your mind, with the constant moving of your jaw to increase blood flow to your brain.
Never doubt the power of human connection. Studies have shown those who are more social will have a reduced risk for memory loss. Regular socialising keeps your brain sharp so connect with friends and family more - it's good for your soul and good for your brain.
Use your brain and it will grow - it really will. Challenge yourself by finding new things to do. I like to visit different countries, learn new languages and experience new adventures as travel broadens the mind. Try puzzles - from memory jogs to Sudoku and crosswords are all broad and have been designed to improve each and every part of our brain, from visual-spatial ability, to perception, attention, memory, numerical agility and problem-solving.
One of the most powerful brain boosting activities that many of us forget is the act of writing, as it can increase our ability to think. The best way to do this is to write daily, for example writing an action list, a diary or start a blog. Writing can help you recall information much faster and allows you to train your mind to think better.
When it comes to your brain you can either "use it or lose it!" so make sure you train your mind by following my 5 tips.