It’s no secret that our society tends to find itself overly occupied with technology, phones, and tablets. We can spend hours a day staring at our screens for work or doom-scrolling until we exhaust ourselves, sleep, and repeat the cycle. It’s easy to lose ourselves in that continual cycle as technology and social media can become addictive due to the easy dopamine it provides.
In fact, using social media can lead to poorer cognitive performance, shrinking the area in our brain responsible for maintaining concentration. That’s why it’s so crucial to fight against that natural inclination and push our minds to grow and expand. One of the best ways to do that is through hobbies; find out more about the best hobbies that keep your mind sharp.
Hiking is one of those hobbies that works every part of your brain and body, making it a phenomenal activity that you need to start. Firstly, exercise is essential for the optimal functioning of your brain and body. When you exercise, your body produces and releases the protein BDNF into your bloodstream. This protein is responsible for regulating synaptic plasticity—which allows us to learn new information—so it’s crucial for improving our memory.
Moreover, keep in mind that you’re in nature when you’re hiking. Spending time in nature can restore focus, enhance memory capacity, and reduce fear and stress.
One of the best hobbies to keep your mind sharp is playing an instrument, like the piano. The piano enhances your quality of life in more ways than one. When you begin learning to play an instrument, your brain starts to develop new neural pathways that are responsible for maintaining neural plasticity.
Neural plasticity is your brain’s ability to change, modify connections, and rewire itself. As children, our brains are very plastic as we’re learning and growing every day. Maintaining that plasticity into adulthood is more challenging, but it’s possible by doing hobbies that stimulate your mind, like playing the piano.
You have likely done a jigsaw puzzle or sudoku game before. As you focused on the task, you could feel the gears in your brain turning as you solved the problem. That’s because puzzles challenge your brain to think outside of the box. When you work on a puzzle, your brain must absorb new information, and you start using your deductive thinking skills, which requires your brain to form new neural connections. As such, puzzles are another way to improve your mind as it enhances your brain’s neural plasticity.
Reading is another great hobby you can start today that will also improve your brain’s functioning. Think about reading as another puzzle that requires you to take in new information. You will build upon prior learning, build new connections, and improve your problem-solving skills.
Reading is a great brain workout. If you aren’t sure where to start and haven’t read in a while, that’s perfectly OK. Start with small, easy-to-read books that are naturally enticing for you. Read a book on a topic you have an interest in, or choose a fiction book that has you absorbed in the material. There are so many ways to start reading; when you find the right book, it’s easier than you’d think.