Our brains play a huge part in how we absorb, digest, and store information. Cognitive function is especially important for learners who need to absorb and retain a lot of information in a relatively short period.
If you want to boost your cognitive function before a semester or are an adult learner who needs to excel in your studies, here are a few tips that can help.
Exercise is great for our physical health, but many people do not realize that it is also great for cognitive function. Different exercises like running, swimming, or cycling help strengthen the connections between brain cells and various parts of the brain.
The result is being able to absorb more information from improved comprehension, learning, and memory. All adults should strive to exercise for about 30 minutes, five times a week. Beginners should start slow and ramp up as they go.
Older adults should try exercises that are compatible with their fitness levels to reduce the risk of injury, getting a personal trainer to help if at all possible.
Make Social Connections
Socializing is a significant part of our lives as humans are social beings. Apart from ensuring a good social life, socializing can also help prevent social decline and thus improve cognitive function. The University of Chicago did a study in 2013 that proved the relationship between cognitive and social decline and loneliness.
The study showed that people with few social connections, and who are therefore more likely to be lonely, experience faster cognitive and psychological decline.
Loneliness causes a few things that disrupt brain connections. These include sleep disruption, depression, increase in cortisol levels, and overall negative well-being. Talking to someone for at least 10 minutes a day can help keep your brain connections optimized, thus helping with memory and cognitive performance.
Play Brain Games
If you have used a smartphone for more than a few years, you have likely seen games advertised as having the ability to help your cognitive ability. Recent studies have proven that various games can indeed help with different types of cognitive functions including memory, reasoning, and problem-solving.
Since there are so many games that can be classified as brain games, it is important to understand which games would actually produce the wanted cognitive improvements. The best games are those that challenge your memory, critical thinking, deductive reasoning, and problem-solving.
Brain games can range from puzzle games like sudoku and chess to table games like poker and blackjack.
You could download all these brain games onto your phone or computer. However, if you want things to be more competitive so they offer more of a challenge, you could try playing online. There are great chess and sudoku platforms, and you can play games like poker and blackjack via online casinos.
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Find Creative Outlets
It may seem strange but being creative can help your cognitive abilities. Creative activities help with memory and coordination. Colouring is one activity that seems unusual for adults but can be a great way of improving cognitive function.
There are lots of online platforms and coloring books geared specifically towards adults. Other creative endeavors that can help with the same include composing and playing music, drawing, writing, and composing poems. If you feel outdoorsy, learning to play a new sport can also unlock new areas of your brain.
Get Enough Sleep
Sleep is very important as this is the time when your brain rejuvenates and repairs itself. Learning is a very intense process for the brain, and it needs time to recover.
Try to get as much high-quality sleep as you can each night. Aim for 7-8 hours, getting to bed at the same time each night. Also, try to avoid distractions while you sleep as they disrupt your REM cycle, the deepest phase of sleep.
Countries like Japan encourage their students and workers to take 30–60-minute naps during the day. Doing so has been shown to boost cognitive function for the latter part of the day when you are more prone to feeling tired and less mentally productive.
Try New Experiences
New experiences stimulate various parts of your brain and help make new brain connections. Routines can cause you to not use various pathways in your brain and this makes these connections weaker. New experiences light up these parts of your brain, helping you take in and store this new information.
These benefits extend to later life and are more pronounced in people who regularly try new things. Remember that it does not have to be something complicated as you can visit a new place over the weekend, learn to play a game, or even learn to play the guitar.
There are so many things that can affect a learner’s cognitive functions. Equally, there are some things learners can do to enhance them. Some may take you out of your comfort zone while some are doable by just changing some of your habits and embracing new ones.