Recent Blog Articles

Mind & Mood

3 easy ways to boost your brain

January 13, 2017

Mind-bending puzzles aren't the only route to improving memory and reason. Activities that engage your emotions and senses may be even better.

boost your brain
 Image: JDwow /Thinkstock

In the midst of promotions for commercial brain training programs to ward off age-related cognitive decline, a few studies are beginning to indicate that simple pleasures may be even more productive. You may find that doing one of the following is an easier and more rewarding way to boost your brain than doing computer-based exercises.

1. Care for a dog

2. Color a picture

It's little wonder that 12 million adult coloring books—based on topics ranging from endangered species to art nouveau designs—were sold in 2015. Crayon sales also jumped by $11 million. Creating art—even if it means coloring inside the lines—can be both stimulating and relaxing.

Moreover, according to a 2015 German study, actively creating art also improves spatial reasoning. The German researchers randomly assigned 28 retirees in their 60s to two groups, both of which met weekly for 10 weeks. One group took classes in which they drew, sculpted, or painted; the other went to museums and analyzed the art they viewed. Both groups underwent tests and brain MRI scans at the beginning and end of the study. The researchers determined that, compared with the people who analyzed art, those who created art had greater improvement in the ability to detect spatial relationships and more activity in the region of the brain responsible for spatial perception.

3.Play with a child

 

To continue reading this article, you must log in.

Subscribe to Harvard Health Online for immediate access to health news and information from Harvard Medical School.

  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »

I'd like to receive access to Harvard Health Online for only $4.99 a month.

Sign Me Up

Already a member? Login ».

Disclaimer:

As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.