A Book Review: Younger Brains, Sharper Brains by Eric R. Braverman, M.D.
by Maggie Dail, M.A., Learning Specialist
Chapter 10: Step Four: Exercises That Boost Your Brain
Health Benefits of Physical Exercise Include:
- Losing weight and keeping it off
- Improving sexual function
- Strengthening cardiovascular health
- Maintaining bone density
- Improving brain function
“If you constantly engage in mental and physical activities, particularly those that get more difficult as you progress, you can increase your cognitive reserve.” P. 178
- Braverman Brain Workout –choose a domain or domains
- Enhancing Memory –Visual Memory
- Drawing maps from home to varying locations – farther and farther away
- Take 5 playing cards from a deck; look one at a time; memorize number and suit; turn cards over and write down what you saw and in the correct order; keep adding.
- Select a photo (album, Facebook etc.); Write down as many details as possible from memory
- Enhancing Memory– Verbal Memory
- Listen to the news for 2 minutes. Write everything you remember. Add more time as you go.
- Think of songs that contain the word blue in the title or lyrics. Keep adding; after 4 days go on to another word.
- Memorize a haiku, repeat from memory. Increase in complexity.
- Enhancing Memory -Improve your Immediate Memory
- At bed time make a list of everything you ate that day.
- Close eyes and describe what you are wearing; more challenging describe what others are wearing.
- List 5 people you spoke to during the day. Gradually increase the number.
- Enhancing Memory-Improve Your Working Memory
- Using an address book or e-mail contact list; remind yourself how each person looks and when you saw them last.
- Write down how much money you spent during each transaction.
- Chunking sorts large amounts of information into subgroups. For example: a grocery list can be remembered by what is in each aisle. P. 182-182
- Enhancing Attention –
- Tapping a table as many times as possible in 30 seconds; increases by 15 seconds until you get to 2 minutes – faster all of the time.
- Practice reading with different kinds of background sound – music, news programs, etc. Increase by 5 minutes each time.
- Play: Game of Five Differences – looking at two images with 5 differences (apps available). Begin with 2 minutes and reduce gradually to 15 seconds.
- Take a walk – increase your speed as you progress.p. 183
- Enhancing IQ –
- Abstract IQ –read a newspaper from cover to cover.
- Creative IQ – Flexibility “What if…challenges.
- Emotional IQ – getting out of the house; listening to lectures or sermons
- Perceptive IQ – be a good role model and teacher p. 184
Braverman also includes activities for becoming more sensitive or intuitive; becoming more rational and how to break bad habits. P. 185-186
He suggests rotating through the types of activities on different days of the week.
- Braverman Recommendations for Physical Activities
- “The point is to get out of your comfort zone for as little as 15 minutes to see what sparks your interest.” P. 187
- Addresses anxiety and depression
- Increases serotonin and GABA
- Aerobics increases blood flow p. 188
- You need muscle mass for better thinking
- Competitive sports make you think faster p. 189
- Consistently increase expectation; but not to the point of pain.
- Braverman cautions by asking a series of questions to determine whether you are ready to exercise (heart condition, pregnancy, dizziness, bone or joint – etc. ask doctor) p. 190
- Mix it up – a routine should not be the same all the time for ever. p. 190
- The PATH to Exercise – 5 Phase Program
- Stretching and warm-up – work up to walking 15 minutes daily
- Dynamic combinations of stretches that induce blood flow and heart pumping.p. 191
- Aerobic/cardiovascular training – rhythm and synchrony of whole body. P. 192
- Weight lifting/resistance training – for bones and muscles
- Cross-training – combines #3 and #4.
Braverman gives further advice that will maximize this process. P. 193-194
Next Braverman talks about Step Five: Natural Hormones Jump-Start Quick Thinking