# Top 10 Tips, Tricks And Tools To Train, Exercise And Better Your Brain

While we're always using our brains, we're not necessarily doing much to keep them in good shape. Here are the top ten sites and tools to train your brain and exercise your mental muscles.

### 10. Sudoku

By now you're probably familiar with Sudoku, but just in case it's a number puzzle game with the objective of filling up a grid of numbers. Check out these instructions to learn how to play. Most people find Sudoku a fun and addictive game, plus it can help improve your problem-solving skills (just not your overall brain health). You can play online, on your iOS device, on Facebook, Android, and pretty much any other platform you can think of.

### 9. Wikipedia:Random

Wikipedia:Random is simply a means of randomly stumbling on a Wikipedia article. Why is this good for your brain? You can use it to find a new topic to learn about every day. Qwiki, a visually rich, mini Wikipedia that reads to you, is another good starting point. Learning something new every day can keep your brain healthy, so grab a random article and make it a new way to start your morning.

Wikpedia:Random

### 8. Practice Simple Maths Every Day

Americans of a certains age remember (fondly or otherwise) a school procedure known as Mad Math Minute, where you'd need to solve as many maths problems as possible in 60 seconds. While it may have seemed annoying then, it was excellent practice that you can still make use of now. While it's easy enough to create your own Mad Math Minute worksheets, since you're basically just writing out a bunch of simple maths problems on a piece of paper, I found a Mad Math Minute generator for Mrs. Boguski's 5th grade class. It probably wasn't intended for mass consumption on the web, so here are some alternative printable worksheets. The bottom line is this: a minute of simple maths can help get your brain in shape and make you far less reliant on a calculator.

### 7. Write Instead of Type More Often

We love our keyboards. They're much more efficient at getting words on the page than your hand, a pencil, and a notebook. Nonetheless, you can learn more effectively by writing longhand and so you may want to ditch the laptop when you're acquiring new knowledge. This happens because your brain's filtering system (the reticular activating system, or RAS) processes what you're actively focusing on at the moment. Writing triggers the RAS and lets your brain know it's time to pay attention.

### 6. Act Like You're Teaching

You can utilise the skills you already have more effectively by acting like you're teaching. Rather than just recalling the steps needing to complete the task at hand, act as though you are teaching yourself how to do it. This will help you recall the necessary information better and avoid making stupid mistakes.

Photo by Renato Ganoza

### 5. Tell Yourself Stories

Storytelling can be a good way to exercise your brain. First of all, it makes things easier to remember because it puts what you want to remember in a more compelling framework. It gives you a chance to focus on important details and associate emotion with what you're trying to remember. Even if you're not telling yourself a story to help retain the information, you'll still improve your memory just by telling stories in general. Storytelling has been used as a treatment for Alzheimer's disease. If storytelling can help an Alzeheimer's patient improve their memory, chances are it can help you.

Photo by Stacy Z

### 4. Lumosity

Lumosity is a webapp that provides specialised brain-training activities. You can use it for free, but premium accounts (which you can try free for five days) have a wider range of training options. All the exercises are pretty simple to understand and are fun to play. All of my initial exercises had to do with memory, likely because I selected better memory as one of my goals when I signed up. That's to say that Lumosity's exercises may vary for you based on the information you provide. When you're done, you get a rating and your goal is simply to improve with each day you practice.

Lumosity

### 3. Meditate

Nothing kills your ability to use your brain effectively, as well as your brain's overall health, like too much stress. What's a great way to reduce your stress levels? Meditation—and you don't need to do it with incense and yoga pants. Check out our guide on meditation for the rest of us for some simple ways to get started.

Photo by Cornelia Kopp

### 1. Exercise and Eat Well

While probably a little obvious, I'd bet that the number of people who believe this is common knowledge is very close to the number of people who don't follow that common knowledge. If you're not exercising and eating right simply because you don't know how, well, check out this 15-minute daily workout from 1904 and structure your daily diet like a pyramid. Anything you do to keep your brain sharp can be easily thwarted if you don't keep your body healthy. A little physical activity and a smart diet will make it much easier for you to your brain in top shape.

Photo by Lululemon Athletica

Got any great brain exercises you like to do? Let's hear 'em in the comments!

Re No 7. - Writing:

For some of us the keyboard is NOT more efficient than writing. Depsite many years of trying, I cannot type faster than I can write.

I would love to ditch my keyboard for a digital tablet that I can write on instead (e.g. a Wacom).
However, decent size writing tablets are expensive and I keep reading the styli wear out far too quickly.

Anyone know of a good one?

Looks like all those frivolous hours reading "Life Hacker" and "Gizmodo" plus a few others is actually doing my brain some good after all! Hardly a day goes by when I don't learn something new from one of them!! :}

I am a daily user of lumosity and can't recommend highly enough ... another great one to mention here to improve your brain function is going into the float tank (sensory deprivation tank) for an hour. This actually improves the balance between your left and right brain by quieting down the logical left brain activity.

So point number 11. would be float tanks in my book

Play the N-Back Game - - Clinically proven to boost IQ

(eg "Brain Workshop" (free) software.) It's like the card game "snap" except the match is 2 iterations ago (then 3, then 4 etc) and you have multiple stimuli to match (eg letter x position). It boosts working memory and focus.

www.wired.com/science/discoveries/news/2008/04/smart_software

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