Get ready to exercise your brain! The brain needs to be exercised or it will get stuck in a rut. Neurobic exercises use all five senses in a very unique way to enhance the brain’s natural drive to form associations between different information. It is possible to grow your own brain food without any pills. You will keep your brain alive!
“Neurobics is a scientifically based program that helps you modify your behavior by introducing the unexpected to your brain and enlisting the aid of all your senses as you go through your day. An active brain is a healthy brain, while inaction leads to reduced brain fitness. Or, in simpler words, ‘Use it or lose it.’ ” Keep Your Brain Alive, Lawrence C. Katz, Ph.D. and Manning Rubin, Workman Publishing Company, New York, 1999.
“Simply by making small changes in your daily habits, you can turn everyday routines into ‘mind-building’ exercises.” Ibid., 32
So what makes an exercise neurobic? “If you are right-handed, controlling a pen is normally the responsibility of the cortex on the left side of your brain. When you change to writing left-handed, the large network of connections, circuits, and brain areas involved in writing with your left hand, which are normally rarely used, are now activated on the right side of your brain. Suddenly your brain is confronted with a new task that’s engaging, challenging, and potentially frustrating.” Ibid., 33.
Try it now; take a pen or a pencil and write a sentence or two with the hand you do not normally use to write. This is very challenging, but it is great for the brain. I have been attempting to use my other hand in writing numbers in my Sudoku games and find it is a real challenge—it feels like it is totally backward.
Also, try getting dressed with your eyes closed or take a completely new route to work. Do not try to use neurobic exercises for every activity all day, but just choose one or two things. And don’t give up the crossword puzzles, reading, learning a new language and other activities. Here are a few more suggestions for neurobics:
- Take a shower with your eyes closed—this can be very interesting!
- Lay out your wardrobe the night before and then, with your eyes closed, put your clothes on by feel only.
- Using the opposite hand, put toothpaste on your toothbrush and brush your teeth with the wrong hand. (This is very challenging, and you will definitely laugh at yourself.)
- Try shaving, applying makeup, buttoning clothes, eating with the wrong hand—the opposite hand(s).
These exercises require you to use the opposite side of your brain instead of the side you normally use. “Consequently, all those circuits, connections, and brain areas involved in using your dominant hand are inactive, while their counterparts on the other side of your brain are suddenly required to direct a set of behaviors in which they usually don’t participate. Research has shown that this type of exercise can result in a rapid and substantial expansion of circuits in the parts of the cortex that control and process tactile information from the hand.” Ibid., 45.
Some variations would be to “use only one hand to do tasks like buttoning a shirt, tying a shoe, or getting dressed. For a real workout, try using just your non-dominant hand. … Another exercise that associates unusual sensory and motor pathways in your cortex with a routine activity is to use your feet to put your socks and underwear in the laundry basket or pick out your shoes for the day.” Ibid.
Try musical chairs: “At dinnertime, have everyone switch seats. In most families, everyone has his or her ‘own’ seat, and it’s remarkable how permanent these arrangements become. Switching seats changes whose ‘position’ you occupy, who you relate to, your view of the room, and even how you reach for salt and pepper.” Ibid., 103. This is good brain workout!
Exercise your brain and give it some challenges. Neurobics is a unique brain exercise program based on the latest neuroscience research. These deceptively simple exercises help stimulate the production of nutrients that grow brain cells to keep the brain younger and stronger. Neurobics uses the five senses in unexpected ways and shakes up everyday routines. The result is a mind fit to meet any challenge and the ability to stay creative in your life and work.
Don’t get stuck in a rut. Go neurobic and keep your brain alive!