June is Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month. To honor that, we should all focus on brain health and dementia prevention. Here are ten weird ways you can exercise your brain.

Puzzles and Games – Jigsaw puzzles and board games have long been used to exercise cognitive functions. Plus, it’s often a social activity, which is also good for your brain! Many games involve memory and thinking skills, helping you increase brain volume.

Exercise and eat right – Having a healthy body often leads to having a healthy brain. Movement promotes blood flow and eating fruits and vegetables is literally the building blocks of brain cells. Order the salad and go for the walk and feel good knowing your brain appreciates it.

Turn off the tv –Television is full of shows telling you how to think and ads telling you what to buy. It turns your brain off, which is why it’s so relaxing. If you want to work out your brain, turn on some music. Listen to some new tunes, sing along to ones you know. Or turn it up another notch and dance! Move your body and get that blood flowing.

“While keeping your brain healthy may not prevent cognitive decline, it will most likely delay it.”

Draw a map – Start small and create a map of your house. Next time map out your neighborhood, then city, state, etc. Print out a map of the US and try to fill in all the states. This uses a part of your brain you haven’t exercised in a while. Plus, you can engage grandchildren and ask them to help you color it.

Use non-dominant hand – Try writing your name with your non-dominant hand. Then try drawing shapes. You can complete mazes, write out song lyrics, or simply stay between the lines while coloring. Using a different hand is challenging and keeps your brain active.

Learn new skill – Take a cooking class, eat unfamiliar foods, and experiment with spices. Learn to play a musical instrument you’ve always wanted to. Join a master gardener course and then show off your skills to your neighbors. Learn one new vocabulary word a day and try to use it in a sentence. Everyone knows learning is the best thing for your brain.

Take a different route home and ditch the GPS to use some brain power.

Teach someone – The highest level of learning is actually teaching. At that point you’ve mastered a skill. So, find a passion you’ve considered good at, and pass that knowledge on to a family member, friend, or neighbor. It’s good for you!

Take a different route – Drive a different way through your city to get home, and don’t use GPS. Observe business, houses, pretty gardens. Walk your dog on a different route than normal – your dog will enjoy this too! Say hi to neighbors you normally wouldn’t encounter. Push your cart the opposite direction that you normally do in the grocery store. Who knows? You may discover a new product you’d never noticed before. Doing these things forces your brain to work, instead of running on autopilot.

Switch seats – If you typically sit on one side of the dinner table, sit on the other. Change your regular staff meeting spot. Sit in the back seat of the car while your spouse drives. This changes your perspective and gives you and your brain a new experience.

“Try some of these activities with your loved ones and make it a fun activity to do together.”

Meditate – Meditation has been proven to help people manage stress and soothe anxiety. Brains with less stress are happier brains. Find a YouTube video and try for five minutes at first and build up to the best amount of time for your schedule.

While keeping your brain healthy may not prevent cognitive decline, it will most likely delay it. Try some of these activities with your loved ones and make it a fun activity to do together.

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