Your brains, squishy and mushy as they are, will slowly decay as you grow old, especially when you don’t use it that much. You can argue that your career can make your brain work, but most jobs are based only on one or two thinking skills (i.e., accountants use more analytical thinking, while lawyers have “morally questionable thinking”). Thus, it’s important to engage in various hobbies unrelated to your line of work in order to keep your brain balanced.
Some good hobbies that can give your brain a good workout include riddles and puzzles. That’s a no-brainer fact. But in this article, you’re going to explore hobbies that don’t seem like they need much wit but are actually brain-intensive. Here are some of them.
Picking a Lock
Using lock picking tools may seem dependent entirely on hand dexterity, but locks are like puzzles. They’re challenges that develop the brain’s sense of timing and, at the same time, work the motor cortex, which is in charge of how the body moves. Successfully using lockpicks needs small, precise movements, which make the brain concentrate more pressure on the motor cortex.
Also, when you’re hiding and picking a lock in secret, the threat of being caught heightens your sense of hearing, which is monitored by the temporal lobe of the brain. In layman’s terms: do something suspicious, the brain becomes alert. When the brain is alert, the brain is pumped.
Playing an Instrument
This may seem like just a single activity, but in reality, playing music is composed of multiple tasks ticking in harmony. A musician’s hands and/or legs aren’t the only things functioning when playing an instrument.
The musician’s memory and cognitive skills (to name a few) are also exercised during performances. Musicians develop their memory as they remember chords and notes. They flex their cognitive skills as they listen and keep up with the rhythm of the song.
A study shows that listening to music does improve brain functions. However, when the study had its sample group of volunteer individuals learn and play an instrument, the researchers observed that the latter’s brains went alive with fireworks, figuratively speaking. Their brains became abuzz with electrical activity.
More of that study in this five-minute TEDtalk video.
Reading and Writing
Books make you smarter, of course, not just as sources of knowledge, but also as influences on the different ways brains think. For example, reading nonfiction can sharpen your critical-thinking skills, while delving into a fantasy book means your creativity will flourish.
Writing, on the other hand, is just like playing an instrument. It engages the brain to think more than reading does. Everyone has ideas about everything, but writing down your own ideas, rather reading someone else’s, makes you think. Writing makes you concentrate as you turn your abstract idea into concrete text.
Even keeping a diary to write down your thoughts of the day can help your brain, easing its burdens by clearing any troubling thoughts and inking them black on paper. A clear mind is a healthy mind.
Learn Something New!
Really, most hobbies, even sports-based ones, help you maintain and improve your brains’ functions. It’s just that, if you stick to one hobby too much, your brain may peak in the skill related to that hobby. So it’s important to learn a different hobby in order to keep the brain challenged and sharp. Keep your brain active by always learning something new!