As stated in my previous article, do not be a creature of habit. Make sure you “switch it up.” The brain does not like it if you are always doing the same thing. The top researchers and neuroscientists have found one of the top three ways to improve memory is to perform novel or new activities.
You must challenge your brain in different ways every single day. As mentioned, patients often tell me that they are challenging their brains because they do crossword puzzles or Sudoku every day. However, they are using the same parts of their brains and are strategizing the same way each time. Try a new game that you have never played before because as an alternate activity, it will require the use of a different part of the brain.
Even the simple things in life should be done in a variety of ways. Patients are always telling me that they exercise, which, of course, is very good for the brain. However, many of them always exercise the same exact way. One patient told me she jogs five miles a day on the exact same path every single day. Although it is fantastic that she is running every day, it would be even better to jog one day, run one day, sprint one day, power walk one day, bike one day, swim one day, and rollerblade one day.
Another patient said he always runs on the treadmill on Monday, lifts weights for the upper body on Wednesday, and lifts weights for the lower body on Friday. Although I do commend him for working out three days a week, it is better to keep changing up the routine with weights, bands, or balls. I recommended he use the bike, the stair master, the elliptical, the rowing machine, the free weights, abdominal equipment, the pull-up bar, and other machines at his gym. Take different classes like Crossfit, Soul Cycle, Pilates, HIIT, Yoga, Tai Chi, Zumba, Hip-Hop Dance, Pole Dancing, Circuit Training, Boot Camp, P90X, and Insanity. There are so many ways to develop different muscles so that your brain is challenged in different ways.
Other novel activities that do not involve physical challenges include learning a different language, skill, or art form. If you only speak English, learn a new language. The point is to keep looking for novelty. There are so many novel activities that you can perform on a daily basis. You can start by taking a different route to work. Novelty can be applied to food, as well. Eat each color of the rainbow every day. Don’t keep eating the same meals every day. Don’t have a weekly menu. Change up the food you eat every day. Luckily, with the great variety of foods available to us, this task is very easy.
In conclusion, it is important to change up every activity you do and to keep learning new things. Start brushing your teeth or your hair with your non-dominant hand. Walk sideways or backward occasionally. Meet new people and visit places you have never been to before. Perform activities you have never done. These simple changes will help you improve your memory, increase your brain function, improve your quality of life, and lead to a long healthy life with your family and friends.
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