We all need hobbies, to give ourselves a break, take our minds off our work, and give ourselves an alternative stream of entertainment and stimulation. You will probably already know that there are infinitely more hobbies available than you could possibly take up in your available time, so you need to choose a few to develop a meaningful interest in and invest in. Not all hobbies are created equal, some can give you extra benefits on top of being enjoyable in themselves. Whatever life you live, in whatever circumstances, it can’t hurt to have a sharper mind. Luckily there are some great options. 

Learning a language has to be the best choice to improve your memory. Learning a language will allow you to appreciate another culture on a deeper level and allow you to travel with less inconvenience. You will have more films to appreciate, more poetry to love and above all, it will keep you on your toes. Learning a second language has been shown to reliably improve your memory and focus, as well as staving off dementia-related mental degeneration. Coming across as sophisticated and being able to order more delicious treats on holiday are added benefits. 

Exercise is helpful for cognitive function in general, so if you aren’t already, consider working some into your routine. The type of benefit will depend on the type of exercise. Meditative, strengthening exercises like yoga and pilates help with developing a long attention span and promoting relaxation. Cardiovascular exercise will be more likely to have you at your intellectual peak. Running, swimming, or even a brisk walk can improve performance. The exact cause is not known but it has been theorized that the increased circulation of blood improves neural oxygen supply, boosting function, and promoting the release of growth factors that are directly linked to improved brain health. If you want to stay sharp, get your running shoes on. 

Last but not least, is the timeless advice to read. Read mysteries or thrillers, romances or plays but whatever you do, pick up a book. There is no better way to experience the world without moving from a comfortable armchair. Even if you read ordinary fiction, you will come across a wider range of scenarios and ideas than it would be possible to encounter in the course of a normal human life.

 When you read, parts of your brain usually associated with movement and sensation work to help you simulate the actions and feelings of the characters in your mind. The feeling of a story being almost real is rooted in the work out your brain is getting. Reading widely will increase the connectivity between the areas of your brain as well as improving your knowledge base. 

Relaxation is a great thing but why not make sure you’re reaping all the benefits you could be? 


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