Whether it’s by the government or by big gym companies, Americans are always being told to exercise. The health benefits of physical exercise are, of course, enormous – especially if you’re someone who has a health condition or is looking to get in shape. But what role can mental exercise play? And how can putting your brain through its paces help you to become more alert and active? This article will suggest some handy mental exercises and explain how they can benefit you.
Puzzles and Games
Puzzles have long been the mental exercise of choice for those who love solving riddles and working out the answers to problems. On a day-to-day basis, word or number puzzles can help you in this regard – and can in some cases even boost your memory. A particular advantage of this type of mental exercise, meanwhile, is that puzzles come in all kinds of different formats. Whether they’re printed-out fill-ins or free online puzzles such as word searches, you can access your puzzles no matter what format you need them in.
While puzzles and games are fairly accessible to almost everyone, there are some other mental exercises – such as thought experiments – that are a little bit harder to carry out. Thought experiments require you to use your imagination to think through a scenario, and use fiction and imagination to assess what might happen if something about it was changed to be a little different.
Say you’re interested in politics: one thought experiment that you could carry out would be to consider how the US would be different if it had a parliamentary system with a prime minister rather than a dominant president. Not only does carrying out a thought experiment make you more imaginative and inquisitive about the world around you, but they’re also the sort of mental exercises that you can carry out anywhere.
If all else fails, however, then it may be worth getting into the habit of performing basic arithmetic and other calculations in your head as a way to keep your brain functioning well. Why not consider relearning the more complicated multiplication tables, for example, or setting yourself the challenge of adding up large numbers if you can’t drop off to sleep at night? This can seem like a throwback to your days at school – but it’s actually a good way to make sure that your most important cognitive functions are kept in good shape. Also, with most jobs now requiring some form of numerical skill, even if it’s just working out your salary payments, a more improved math mind is bound to come in handy sooner or later.
Mental exercises are great for a whole host of purposes. Whether you want to extend your imagination or you simply need to stimulate your brain by puzzling over as much as possible, there’s a whole host of possible mental activities out there. Choosing one that fits your time requirements, your skills and indeed your passions, though, is crucial.