The Best Hobby for Increasing Your Brain’s Performance

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So, what hobby will most increase my brain’s performance?

Key Elements of a Brain-Boosting Hobby*

  1. You learn something new. The brain needs to keep learning and developing new skills to create those valuable connections. Even intellectually demanding activities may not be the best brain exercise if you’ve mastered them. So, we’ve probably all heard crossword puzzles are great brain boosters. But, if Mrs. Smith can sit down and complete the daily crossword with ease, her brain may not be gaining much. Fortunately, crossword puzzles and other brain games constantly require new knowledge so simply trying a harder or different puzzle can be useful. This is also why we highly recommend lifelong learning opportunities.
  2. It’s an ongoing challenge. The best brain boosting hobbies require concentration and mental effort. Most hobbies can be modified to include this element. For example, simply playing music you’ve already mastered may not help. But, learning a new piece that challenges you will. If you like reading, consider joining (or leading) a discussion group that really makes you think deeply. Or, try a new genre or take a writing class. Any physical or mental exercise becomes easier with time, so our brains need us to keep challenging ourselves in our hobbies.
  3. You can build on your skills. Look for activities that allow you to start at an easy level and work your way up as your skills improve. This means your hobby can grow with you.
  4. It’s rewarding. Rewards support the brain’s learning process. This is an important reason why there’s not one answer to this question. The more interested and engaged you are in the activity, the more likely you’ll be to continue doing it and the greater the benefits.
  5. Bonus: it provides socialization and/or purpose. Social interactions protect the brain. So for a brain bonus, pick hobbies that create social connections. Additionally, sense of purpose helps us age well. This might translate to volunteering, or even just being part of a group or taking on a necessary role.

Top Brain-Boosting Hobbies

Exercise

Games

Language and Music

Bonus Brain Boosters

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