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Brain Activities to Improve Memory & Cognition

Even though the brain gets plenty of exercise during the day, certain activities can help boost brain function and connectivity. This helps protect your brain from age-related degeneration.

The brain is the most complex organ in the body. Its job is to regulate multiple bodily functions, interpret incoming sensory information, and process emotions. It is our memory, our intelligence, and our creativity.

The brain is always active, even while we are asleep. Certain activities can engage the brain in new ways and potentially improve memory, cognitive function, or creativity.


Meditation can calm your body, slow your breathing and reduce stress and anxiety. According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, research suggests that meditation may benefit the brain by slowing brain aging and increasing the brain’s ability to process information.

Crossword Puzzles

An older study from 2011 notes that crossword puzzles may delay the onset of memory decline in people with preclinical dementia.

Jigsaw Puzzles

Research has shown that doing jigsaw puzzles recruits multiple cognitive abilities and is a protective factor for visuospatial cognitive aging. In other words, when putting together a jigsaw puzzle, you have to look at different pieces and figure out where they fit within the larger picture. This can be a great way to challenge and exercise your brain.

Increasing Personal Vocabulary

Several brain regions are involved in vocabulary tasks, particularly in areas that are important for visual and auditory processing. A simple way to increase your vocabulary is to read a book or watch TV and write down any words that are unfamiliar. Then use a dictionary to look up words.

Listening to Music

A 2018 study published in Brain Sciences found that listening to music a person enjoys engages and connects different parts of the brain.

Learning an Instrument

Learning an instrument exercises parts of the brain that are responsible for coordination.

According to a 2014 study, playing an instrument may benefit cognitive development in a young brain and help protect against cognitive impairment in an aging brain.


The Centers for Disease Prevention and Control notes that learning new dance moves can increase your brain’s processing speed and memory


Regular physical exercise is beneficial for both the brain and the body. Exercise improves memory, planning, and organization.

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