Brain exercises you can do every day

Ten brain exercise riddles for adult and children

In addition to a healthy diet and physical activity, there are countless ways to give your brain its own workout. There are many small things you might not have thought of that are easy to do every day to improve your brain power. Check out these exercises and try some that appeal to you. 

  1. Test your memory – Make a list, for example, a shopping or to-do list, and memorise it. An hour later, check how many things from your list you remember. Make the things on your list as challenging as possible.
  2. Try music – Learn how to play an instrument or join a choir. Learning something new and complex over a long period of time can be ideal for an older mind. 
  3. Do mental arithmetic – Do sums in your head without paper and pen or calculator. You can make it even more difficult, and physical, by going on a walk at the same time. 
  4. Cook– Learn to cook new dishes. When cooking, we use several different senses like smell, touch, vision and taste. All these senses involve different parts of the brain. 
  5. Learn a new language – When listening and hearing is involved, the brain is stimulated. A rich vocabulary is also associated with reduced risk of cognitive decline. 
  6. Create word pictures – Visualise the spelling of a word in your head. Try to think of other words that start or end with the same two letters. 
  7. Draw a map from memory – After coming home from a new place, try to draw a map of the area. Try to do this exercise every time you have visited a new place.
  8. Challenge your taste buds – When you’re eating, try to identify the different ingredients in the dish, including herbs and spices. 
  9. Improve your hand-eye coordination – Start a new hobby that requires fine motor skills such as knitting, drawing, painting or doing a jigsaw puzzle. 
  10. Learn a new sport – Try a workout that involves both body and mind such as yoga, golf or tennis.
  11. Brush your teeth with the opposite hand – Use your left hand if you are right-handed and vice versa. You can challenge yourself further by opening the toothpaste cap and putting toothpaste on the toothbrush with your opposite hand. You could also use your opposite hand to do other things like controlling your mouse or writing by hand. 
  12. Change your morning routine – Do your morning routine in a different order. Get dressed before breakfast if you usually do it after, walk a different route when you walk your dog or watch the news on a different TV channel. 
  13. Switch perspective – Look at familiar objects upside down, turn pictures of people you know, or your watch, upside down. Read a book or newspaper upside down. Read a page starting from the bottom and up. 
  14. Change places – Most families have fixed places around the dinner table and perhaps you have a fixed desk at the office? By changing places every day, everything will change, your view of the room, who you are socialising with, relationships and even how you reach for the salt and pepper. 
  15. Shop differently – check shelves from top to bottom, and if you see a product you have not seen before – pick it up and read the ingredients and consider them. You don’t have to buy anything, but you break up your routine and learn something new.
  16. Read to children – Help them use different parts of their brains by experiencing new sounds, words and colours. Just consider how many times a child hears ‘mum’ and ‘dad’ before they grasp how to say it. Reading to your children stimulates them and increases their understanding of their surroundings. 
  17. Cook dinner together – Cook dinner with your children by following a recipe. This lets children read, understand and follow instructions. 
  18. Play with numbers and letters – Give each letter in the alphabet a number from 1 to 29. Make words that, for example, could make 40, 45 or 50 by adding the letters together. 
  19. Review your memory – Try to remember the name of your teachers or classmates in school, see if you can remember details like what they were wearing and what kind of people they were. Next time think about an old workplace or a street where you used to live – you’ll be surprised at how much you remember. 
  20. Alphabetise – List the months of the year in alphabetical order, you can write them down the first time – but try to do it in your head – and then do it backwards. 

Brain training games for the whole family