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10 exercises to boost cognitive health

Life gives us various ‘fronts’ to deal with, to challenge, to manage, to fight for, to succeed, to move ahead,&to achieve a goal. To accomplish this, our judicious brain is working 24/7 in a desire to live a fuller life. Pre-frontal cortex (PFC) is that prudent region of the brain’s cerebral cortex which is chiefly responsible to undertake intellectual tasks. Etymologically, term “prefrontal” had been introduced in 1868 by Richard Owen& PFC was considered as an area that was restricted to the anterior-most part of the frontal lobe (nearing to frontal pole). Let us understand a bit in detail what PFC of the brain is exactly? It is a cortical structure of the brain which wraps the cerebral cortex of the frontage (forehead area) of the frontal lobe.It is extremely sagacious in nature andhas been alluded to the functions like reasoning & planning complex cognitive behavior, personality expression, decision making, and moderating social behavior. Anatomically, the prefrontal cortex is comprised of multiple Brodmann areas (BA) but recently in 2019, Ben Shalom and Bonneh suggested a narrow prefrontal cortex with 4 streams of information: motor (BA 8), emotion (BA 9), memory (BA 10), and perception (BA 11) in usual human/animal cognition.PFC is attributed to all the tasks related to intelligence, reasoning, planning, focus, attention, decision making, flexible thinking, impulse control, processing speed, learning & more.

1) Learning language or improving personal vocabulary: Helps in memory-building, improving the ability to comprehend, reasoning, sustained attention and focus

2) Learning new skills like musical instruments, culinary skills, photography, music, or art: Improves concentration, focus, attention, memory and creativity


3) Playing boardgames like chess, carrom, card games: Improves perceptual abilities, mental flexibility, working memory, planning and reasoning. Boardgames like Trivial Pursuit build factual memory and Monopoly improves mathematical, financial, and strategic planning skills.

4) Puzzles and crosswords: Crosswords, sudoku, and jigsaw puzzles challenge the brain’s ability of perceiving patterns, completing sequences, and solving problems. It also helps improve abilities like reasoning, planning, organisation and memory.

5) Playing video games: It helps to enhance attention, cognitive flexibility and problem-solving. Adventurous 3D video games significantly improve attention, short-term memory, and reaction time/response time as well as processing speed.

6) Dancing: It aids planning and organisation as it is a form of exercise that stimulates the brain region involved in rhythm and balance.

7) Practising Tai Chi: It involves gentle body movements, rhythmic breathing, and meditation and helps in improving memory, increasing brain connectivity among various regions involved in cognitive functioning.

8) Visualisation: Creating a mental image to represent information in different forms (pictures or animated scenes) helps in organising information and improves decision-making.

9) Travelling and exploring new places: Travelling to near or far destinations can help us explore new scenes, sights, sounds, making new neural connections and improving memory circuitry.

10) Cultural adaptation: Participating in or watching films, plays, poetry readings, museum tours, etc. presents brain with challenging and stimulating ideas, thereby strengthening new neural connections by rewiring.

It is advisable to assess your cognitive strengths and weaknesses from time to time and prepare a simple roadmap, a sort of mindful ledger where you would want your cognitive abilities to reach. By choosing the ones needed to be improved the most, you can enhance your cognitive health by employing strategies discussed above.

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