Want a razor-sharp brain? Keep it active with these hobbies
We all know that keeping active is important for our physical health, but it’s just as important to keep mentally active. That’s because mental activity is vital to the wellbeing of that computer called a brain that we all carry around in our heads.
Hobbies can help to keep your mind healthy and what you chose to do with your spare time can and does have a big impact on how fit your brain really is – today and into the future. Treating your brain like a muscle to be exercised just like any other muscle in your body will help it to grow stronger, better and faster, so why not add a few brain exercises into your daily routine!
OK, so technically speaking your brain isn’t really a muscle (although it does contain bits of muscle). It has a cellular structure and function that is far more complex than an ordinary muscle, but the ‘use it or lose it’ principle applies to both though. So if you’re not stimulating your brain every day, now’s the time to start! Here are our top 7 hobbies and mind games that are guaranteed to give you a good dose of mental energy.
- Love it or hate it, reading is a tonic for your brain because it’s a source of knowledge. Try to read a wide variety of books and remember your local library is a source of endless entertainment that’s free!
- Word and number games. From quizzes to crosswords and Sudoku there are loads of interesting puzzles to keep your mind active. Lovatts is a great place to start, with new puzzles in a wide range of categories being added every day. When you complete a puzzle you can even see how you rank against the thousands of other players all over the globe who have played the same puzzle.
- Get creative. Right-brain activities such as art and crafts are great hobbies that increase brain connectivity, relieve stress and encourage creative thinking. All really good, stimulating stuff! If you’re stuck for ideas, check out Crafts by Amanda for some great ideas for adults and kids.
- Learn to play an instrument. To be honest, learning just about anything is great for your mental aerobics but if you think you’re not musically gifted, maybe it’s time to give it another go! Whether it’s strumming a chord or tickling the ivories, learning to play an instrument can be fun and energising. Just make sure no one’s home for the first few months to witness your budding musical genius.
- Play cards. OK so Solitaire may not be to your liking but a lively game of Bridge, Canasta or Euchre will shift your grey matter into overdrive and can be a serious amount of fun. Cards are also great if you have a bit of the competitor in you as you can throw the challenge down to your mates. Looking for a new card game? Check out Card Game Heaven for loads of card game instructions (including cards for kids and single-player games).
- Dust off the chessboard. Chess is perfect for improving cognitive function and it actually does double duty because it exercises both hemispheres of your brain – left for object recognition and right for pattern recognition. Check out Chess if you feel like a game right now – with 24 million members, you’ll be sure to find an opponent who has a similar skill level to your own.
- Learn a new skill. There are thousand of courses available online, at Universities and through Registered Training Organisations. If you’re interested in something (really just about anything) and want to learn more about it, you’ll find loads of course options to help you increase your knowledge and stimulate your brain (and who knows, it could even end up being your new career).
It doesn’t matter what age you are, you’re never too young or too old to take on a new hobby and while many of them won’t cost you a bean there’s no doubt that some hobbies can be a bit of a drain on the old finances (for example if you decide you want to take up sky diving or build the world’s biggest model railway).
If your hobby needs a little cash injection, we’re here to help! Just check out our flexible mini-loans from $1K - $5K to see how quick and easy it is to get your hands on some extra funds. Once a loan is approved, we can usually deposit the cash into your bank account within a few hours - so you can do the mental arithmetic to figure out how much you need!