8 Ways to Make Your Brain Smarter
Billions of neurons in your brain can reshape themselves in response to what you do and learn. Help them along with these eight strategies to be sharper, make wiser decisions and stay focused.
Get Off Your Yoga Mat (50 Times, Quickly)
No doubt, yoga is a wonder exercise—it tones muscles, tames monkey mind and even burns some calories. But there’s one area in which it can fall short: as a cardio workout. Only
aerobic exercise—and most yoga doesn't qualify—gave rise to increases in brain volume in regions related to memory and attention
, found a University of Illinois study that tracked older adults who followed various fitness training regimens. Aerobic activity is the best for raising levels of brain-derived neurotropic factor (BDNF), a protein that encourages neurons to grow.
Three one-hour sessions of aerobic exercise (jogging, speed-walking, bicycling) a week for six months, as prescribed in the study. Even a short, high-intensity aerobic exertion—like sprinting—can dramatically raise BDNF
, resulting in 20 percent faster learning in one study. For yogis who want an all-in-one workout, add pulse-raising Vinyasa Flow or Power Yoga to your practice and (this applies to everyone) a dose of meditation—also proven to help us focus and retain information