Brain training mental fitness in 7 steps

Memory training: How to boost your mindMental performance tends to decline somewhat after midlife. But this process can be influenced. Because: The human brain is capable of staying fit at any age through targeted training. You'll do a lot for your memory with the following brain training tips and tests!

brain training mental fitness in 7 steps

© iStock.com/Eva-Katalin

The brain is the control center of the human organism, a high-performance organ with a gigantic information capacity. In this complex system, nerve cells (neurons) are the main players. They exchange signals and information via electrochemical impulses (stimuli).

Brain training mental fitness in 7 steps

The more nerve cells in the brain are interconnected, the more information can be processed. And: the faster the brain works, the greater the mental fitness. Because the brain can only pass on stimuli one after the other, not simultaneously.

Brain training – actively increasing mental abilities

The formation of neuronal networks is the basic prerequisite for mental fitness. This process is triggered and continued by mental activity and continuous learning. It starts right after birth: stimuli. Impulses cause the existing neurons to become interconnected. Feeling, seeing or hearing leads to thoughts. These thoughts lead to actions. Knowledge and experience are accumulated.

Whether a person has to make experiences once or several times in order to store them in memory and whether he or she has to repeat what he or she has learned once depends on how important the person considers the information in question to be. This process continues unabated during the first 30 years of life. More and more dense neuronal networks are created. From the middle of life, however, the brain begins to shut down those nerve connections that are no longer actively used. However, the threatening loss of performance can be actively counteracted.

Test your memory

With the following test you can not only check how pronounced your memory is. By the way, you also complete the memory training, which is so important for mental fitness. First click on the image gallery.
Look at each image for no longer than five seconds and try to memorize as many details as possible. Then take the test below:

brain training mental fitness in 7 steps

Through memory training, mental fitness becomes age-independent

The brain reacts to stimuli. It always needs new impulses to keep the activity of the gray cells and the formation of the neuronal networks so important for mental fitness going. Memory training, for example through crossword puzzles, the willingness to learn, creative activities, physical activity, but also the maintenance of social contacts counteract the declining mental capacity.

The more the mind is engaged, the more neurons connect, regardless of age. Howard Fillit of the New York Institute on Aging puts it this way: "Loss of mental fitness is not an inevitable side effect of aging."

Train your memory with our tests:

Brain training doesn't just happen in the head

The optimal performance of our brain does not only develop through activities such as memory training, but is additionally conditioned by physical fitness. The Brain Training Society.V. (GfG) illustrates this by means of the so-called
SOMECO Stairs:

– SO = somatic (physical) fitness – ME = mental fitness – CO = competency (mental competence)

These stages build on each other. First of all, it is important to create the somatic conditions for the brain to function optimally and thus to be efficient. This means that blood flow must be correct, there must be an adequate supply of nutrients, and the nerve cells in the brain must produce sufficient energy. To do this, the body needs glucose and oxygen, which we obtain from food and respiration, respectively.

brain training mental fitness in 7 steps

Furthermore, mental fitness is increased by mental activities, for example memory training (the term brain jogging means the same thing). Both aspects are important for efficient brain performance, which in this model is called mental competence.

Seven tips for brain training – suitable for everyday use and concrete

The individual steps of the SOMECO staircase can be individually designed according to your own needs, abilities and requirements. The GfG suggests seven individual stages that can be implemented in everyday life:

A balanced diet provides the brain with energy. Above all Carbohydrates serve it as fuel. For a good blood circulation there must not be a lack of fluids. Therefore, one should regularly and already before one gets thirsty drink – at least 1.5 liters of water per day.

Moderate endurance sports not only reduce stress and tension, but also increase brain activity, concentration and endurance. Twice a week you should Endurance training complete. In addition one should move oneself with mental activity in between again and again once.

Through sleep, information absorbed during the day is stored in memory. Ideally Sleep six to nine hours a night.

Sharpen the senses: Sensory impressions are important for optimal brain performance. In case of visual impairment or hearing loss, one should therefore provide oneself with appropriate aids.

Mental activity, for example through brain jogging, promotes working memory, in which information is sorted, forwarded or deleted. Crossword puzzles, Sudoku and other exercises improve logical thinking and memory span.

Information make conscious choices: Distinguishing important from unimportant is a permanent challenge for our brain. You can support it by consciously choosing what you want to occupy yourself with and avoiding unnecessary information overload, for example through constant media and smartphone use.

Memory and learning strategies, for example speed reading techniques, can help to drive the brain to peak performance.

Learning while sleeping?

Science attributes a significant role in memory formation and thus learning to healthy sleep. Sleep phases are the intervals, which serve to master the information flood of the day. New things are sorted, important things are stored and unimportant things are deleted.

Keep your gray matter on its toes. Our brain jogging tools strengthen mental fitness!

To oversleep important decisions, recommends already the vernacular. Rightly so, as scientific research suggests. During sleep, breathing rate, blood prere and body temperature decrease. The body reduces stress hormones, relaxes and comes to rest. The brain is still active. Processes the events of the day. We literally learn while we sleep. Research indicates that not only does an extended night's sleep help to consolidate impressions and sort learned material. Sleep is generally restorative, even a short nap in between. Albert Einstein, a staunch advocate of the daily siesta, already knew this.

Sleep a night over important decisions

Sleep researchers at the University of Salzburg found in an experiment that a one-hour sleep at noon significantly increases declarative memory, that is, the learning of facts and events that can be consciously recalled. Subjects between the ages of 19 and 30 were given the task of learning associative word pairs, for example "book – read". They were tested before and after sleep, respectively – with the aforementioned result.

More complex tasks are easier to solve if you sleep on them, according to sleep researchers at the universities of Lubeck and Cologne. They presented test subjects with series of numbers whose structure they had to recognize. Of the people who slept through the problem one night, twice as many figured out the solution the next day as in the two test groups who did not sleep.

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