If you have ever thought of learning piano or guitar but you thought that it was too late to pick up new skills, you are in for a great news.
Scientists have now proven that learning new skills can stimulate neural pathways and increase cognitive functioning. That means, taking up new hobbies can make you smarter and more focused.
In an interview with Huffington Australia, Muireann Irish, Associate Professor from Sydney University’s School of Psychology and Brain and Mind Centre said that as the brain is ‘plastic’, it is capable of reorganising and forming new neural pathways.
“Recent research has shown that engaging in an activity that is unfamiliar and mentally challenging may provide the necessary stimulation to bring about improvements in a number of high-level cognitive processes such as attention and working memory,” Irish said.
So, here are seven hobbies that you can learn to become smarter!
1. Play a musical instrument
Apart from enjoying the music, learning how to play a musical instrument can help boost your creativity, language, math and fine motor skills.
Furthermore, this activity can also help strengthen your corpus callosum which is essential in executive skills, memory and problem-solving.
Love spending your free time to read novels? Keep on doing that as it helps you at problem-solving, navigating everyday life, interpreting and processing new informations.
It is also a therapeutic activity that helps to relieve your stress after a hectic day at work.
3. Exercise regularly
One review shows that adults who exercise regularly have better cognitive performance.
You do not need to do 20 push-ups at once or attempt to exercise more than an hour to gain this benefit. The key is to do exercise regularly.
A 15-minute workout daily is more than enough to increase your attention span, memory, understanding, and concentration.
Wall Street Journal published “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences” where it recorded the results of the study conducted by Richard Davidson on brain waves during meditation.
The results showed that meditation allowed meditators to generate brain waves on command. Practicing meditation will help the brain to develop further so you can help improve your strength as well as weaknesses.
Some of the meditations that can give you this benefit are yoga and Falun Gong.
5. Learn a new language
If you would like to be smarter and have a better memory, you might want to take up a new language. Research shows that multilingual people are better problem solver compared to monolingual people.
6. Test your cumulative learning
There is a reason why learning a new language helps us to become smarter as it requires cumulative learning. As we practice the same language over and over, we will keep repeating the grammar and vocabulary of the language, making them easier to be retrieved when it is needed.
7. Work out your brain
Increase the neuroplasticity of your brain by solving puzzle, sudoku, riddles and board games. Engaging in a mentally challenging activity will help you to create new neural connections, allowing you to see things from a different point of view.