Many people think that as we age we lose nerve cells and that there is nothing we can do to stop this process or to regain the neurons. However, this is not entirely true as we actually grow new neurons can can.
Neurogenesis (the formation of new brain cells) continues into old age. One of the main places where this continues to happen is in the hippocampus. It plays an important role in memory and learning. As soon as you let these neurons grow back, they enter your neural network just like any other brain cell.
And it gets even better: Because several scientific studies suggest that certain activities can stimulate neuron growth and even rejuvenate your brain. This article will teach you how to grow new neurons . What are you waiting for? Read on below so that you too can benefit!
Seven ways to grow new neurons at any age
1. Play an instrument to grow new neurons
Playing a musical instrument can really increase your mental agility and learning skills. However, you don’t have to be a virtuoso for this to work. The most important thing is the combination of auditory, tactile, sensory, logical and analytical engagement. This means that your brain not only follows the rhythm, but also uses several regions at the same time.
Learning to play an instrument has the same effect on your brain as exercise does on your body. Through consistent and long-term practice, you will improve your problem-solving skills by combining your practical side with your creative side. It can also help you store and learn information better.
In fact, playing an instrument can even boost a young child’s IQ! A study of preschoolers who learned to play the piano showed that their IQ was much higher than that of children who had never taken piano lessons.
It doesn’t matter how old you are; bring music into your life to let new neurons grow that way!
2. Oxygen for a healthy brain
Power walking, jogging, dancing, swimming, and cycling are examples of aerobic exercise. These exercises can help you build new neurons, especially to improve your brain capacity.
Aerobic exercise can also help with blood flow, which is important for your brain. In addition, they can even create new blood vessels and strengthen existing ones. As you improve your blood flow, you also increase the number of nutrients and oxygen your brain receives. This, in turn, will help you build new neurons.
A recent scientific study, in which the test subjects performed aerobic exercise constantly for three months, showed that the oxygen supply was increased in some areas of the brain. As a rule, however, the oxygen supply in these regions tends to deteriorate with age.
In addition, the subjects achieved better results in memory tests and also showed higher neuron levels in these areas. This would suggest that their brain is younger.
3. Move your legs to create new neurons
Some studies in animals that walk on wheels have shown that moving their legs can also increase neuron production in areas related to memory and learning.
The more you move your legs, the more neurons you produce. In other words, the more you walk, the more you increase neurogenesis in the learning and memory centers of your brain. This makes sense because walking around stimulates your brain as you explore new environments. That means you have to learn and remember to stay focused.
A recent study also found that exploring new spaces and discovering new things lowered the risk of Alzheimer’s and improved memory. So if you’re looking for a way to create new brain cells, it’s a great way to travel medium or long distances in unfamiliar places. So break with your routine and surprise your brain with new routes!
If you don’t move your legs as much, it can also decrease the production of new neurons. For example, it has been shown that astronauts who spend months in weightlessness and people with limited mobility can have up to 70% lower rates of neurogenesis. Meditation has proven to be a good alternative in these cases.
4. Grow new neurons with mind and body exercises
Meditation, yoga, tai chi, mindfulness and other activities between body and mind require learning the natural flow of your thoughts and behavior without involving your emotions. Exercise for the body and mind can improve your task-oriented memory and decision-making, and can stimulate many parts of your brain.
For example , daily Zen meditation, mindfulness, or yoga for a few months can really change your neural circuitry. There is a proven increase in gray matter in areas of the brain related to memory and emotional processing.
When you do these things, you also take on deeper breathing, which is very good for your brain. As mentioned before, your brain is taking in as much oxygen as it can!
5. Eat for your three brains
As you may already be aware, omega-3 fatty acids are essential for our brain. Omega-3 fatty acids build up in the brain centers for memory and learning (cerebral cortex and hippocampus). Since our brain cannot produce omega-3 fatty acids on its own, you should try to include them in your diet.
Many scientific studies have shown that a good daily intake of omega-3 not only slows down neuron death, but also increases neuron production. It has a similar effect on mood. When your omega-3 levels are low, you are more likely to suffer from depression.
It is also important that you eat foods high in fiber and lactic acid, as well as fruits and vegetables. This type of diet helps keep your intestines healthy and provides a good environment for the microorganisms that live there. These are sometimes referred to as the “second and third brain”.
All of the data seem to suggest that a healthy gut can promote the types of molecules you need to grow new brain cells. Therefore, include all the essential fatty acids and fiber in your diet for the benefit of your brain.
6. Write a book
A study published in 2018 in which researchers measured the brain capacities of creative writers showed that they had more gray matter (which basically means that they have more neurons). In other words, these are the things you need to be able to write a book. Creative writers also deal with long-term memory tasks.
7. Let new neurons grow: use your creative side!
While writing isn’t one of your strengths, visual arts, drama, and almost any other activity that involves creativity can help you grow new neurons.
Creativity is one of the things that your brain spends the most energy on. However, it’s also one of the things that stimulate it the most. Being creative is an extremely deep part of human nature.
I love the idea that just writing this article helped me create a new neuron or two! If you’ve been listening to music while reading , chances are the same happened to you. And that’s really amazing, isn’t it?