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Mentalrobics™

You exercise your body to stay physically in shape, so why shouldn't you exercise your brain to stay mentally fit? With these daily exercises you will learn how to flex your mind, improve your creativity and boost your memory. As with any exercise, repetition is necessary for you to see improvement, so pick your favorite exercises from our daily suggestions and repeat them as desired. Try to do some mentalrobics every single day!

Free radicals are molecules that are naturally produced by the body during normal functioning. Free radicals are highly reactive and thus are likely to take part in a chemical reaction. In the body these reactions tend to be destructive, and over time can contribute to various problems, including memory decline. Antioxidants are chemicals that can neutralize these free radicals and thus prevent them from initiating any harmful reactions.

Antioxidants

Vitamin A (Beta-carotene): Found in carrots, squash, broccoli and other fruits and vegetables.
Vitamin C: Found in citrus and green leafy vegetables.
Vitamin E: Found in nuts, seeds, whole grains and green leafy vegetables.
Bio-flavonoids: Found in berries and green tea.

In one study, vitamin E was shown to help prevent normal age related memory decline. In another study vitamins C and E showed some promise in helping patients with dementia. Many other studies have shown additional health benefits from eating antioxidants. So, eat your vegetables!

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Many scientific studies have shown that routine exercise and staying physically in shape can improve memory and slow down normal age related memory decline. There are several reasons why this might be the case.

First, a healthy cardiovascular system is better able to deliver a steady supply of oxygen rich blood to the brain. This increased blood flow can lead to increased numbers of synapses. These extra synapses act like a cognitive reserve that can help to delay the onset of common memory disorders.

A second benefit for physical exercise is that it decreases cholesterol and hypertension which can damage the tiny blood vessels in your brain and cause memory problems.

A third benefit comes from the proper regulation of blood sugar levels in the body, which can be improved by loosing weight. It has been shown that improved blood sugar regulation can result in better memory. In one study, people with poor blood sugar regulation were discovered to have a smaller hippocampus, which is essential for good memories.

Lastly, during exercise the brain releases neurotrophins which strengthen neurons and encourage new growth.

A minimum of thirty minutes of exercise each day is the recommended amount necessary to stay in good physical shape. Here are some simple suggestions for ways to add a little exercise into your daily life: take the stairs instead of the elevator, ride your bike to work, jog on a treadmill while watching TV.

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The Loci system for remembering items works well because the human mind can remember where you learned something almost as well as what you learned. You've probably had the experience where you knew exactly where a piece of information was located but you couldn't remember the actual information itself.

The memory of where the information is located can be a helpful cue for remembering the information itself. For example, to remember the names of your neighbors, you could mentally walk down the street and picture people in front of their house.

You can also take advantage of location when you are taking notes or preparing study material. Instead of making a vertical list of items to be remembered, organize the items on the page in a logical way. For example, if you are memorizing foreign words, you might put the nouns along the left side of the page and the verbs along the right side. The location of the word on the page will help you remember it during recall. Mind mapping, diagrams, and charts are note-taking strategies that can help you organize information visually on a page. Spatially organized notes with diagrams and drawings work better than regular notes in an outline format.

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When you get into a routine and do the same things over and over, your brain gets very little stimulation. Previously, we have learned that our minds works on the "use it or lose it" principal. One easy way to introduce novelty into your life is to shop at different grocery stores. For most of human history, finding food was a difficult task that required social interaction and ingenuity. In modern society, getting food from the local supermarket requires very little thought. Here are two ways to spice things up.

1. Try doing your grocery shopping at a different store. This will force you to learn a different store layout, and different brands of foods. Maybe you'll find something that you like better.

2. Shop at specialty markets. Instead of getting everything from one place, go to a bakery, a butcher shop, a farmers market, or an ethnic food store. You will probably get fresher food that will taste better and be better for you. Often these markets will have uncommon varieties that you can't get at a supermarket. Try one of these to get a different sensory input.

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In split-brain patients, the corpus callosum, which connects the left and right hemispheres of the cerebral cortex, has been surgical severed. This surgery is performed very rarely to help control severe epilepsy.

By studying these patients, Dr. Roger Sperry made some remarkable discoveries about the human brain, for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1981. What he found was that consciousness exists independently in the two different hemispheres and that the two sides can operated independently. The left side of the brain contains the speech center and can express itself verbally and logically, while the right side of the brain is more visually oriented.

In one of the experiments, an object was shown to the left visual field (which connects to the right side of the brain). Because the right hemisphere cannot process language, the patient was unable to say what the object was. However, they were able to pick up the matching object with their left hand. This is because the right hemisphere of the brain knew what the object was and could tell the left hand to pick it up, it just couldn't express it with language.

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