Brain health has four distinct components: Attention, Memory, Cognition, and Mood. For a task to stimulate your brain enough to exercise it, it must be novel and complex so that multiple areas in the brain are involved.

Advances in brain imaging have allowed scientists to look at brain function while tasks are being performed to see which brain areas are involved. Here are some fun ideas on activities that can contribute to stimulate your brain in order to maintain brain activity which some experts believe can reduce the risks to your brain functioning as you age:

Neurobic Exercises

The neurobiologist Lawrence Katz coined this term to describe brain exercises that enhance brain performance by using all five senses in new and novel ways. These exercises are great because they stimulate growing new connections between brain cells. To get started, try these exercises:

Switch Hands

Try using your non-dominant hand to brush your teeth, holding your fork or moving your computer mouse.

Read Books Aloud

Brain imaging has shown that three distinct brain regions light up when the same word is read, spoken, or heard.

Engage in learning a long-term new ability

Learning new things is always a good idea, but it’s not the same to master a new dish than to learn a language or play an instrument. Studies show that learning something new and complex over a longer period of time is ideal for the aging mind. Learning languages or playing musical instruments are great endeavors because there is always a step further you can take your achievements.


You may be wondering why does relaxing count as exercising your mind. Picture this: your brain is a non-stop thinking machine, so exercising control over that flow of thoughts is one of the most challenging things to try. According to the National Institutes of Health, meditation may increase the brain’s ability to process information and slow, stall, or even reverse changes that take place in the brain due to normal aging.

Remember to complement these exercises with good, balanced nutrition and regular physical activity: engaging in multiple healthy behaviors that keep your heart and your brain healthy –rather than sticking to just one– significantly enhances overall brain health.


David Heber

David HeberM.D., Ph.D., FACP, FASN – Chairman, Herbalife Nutrition Institute

Dr. David Heber is the chairman of the Herbalife Nutrition Institute (HNI), which promotes excellence in nutrition education for the public and scientific community and sponsors scientific symposia. The HNI Editorial Board is made up of key scientific opinion leaders from around the world in the fields of nutrition, exercise physiology, behavioral medicine and public health. Dr. Heber holds a degree in chemistry, an M.D. from Harvard Medical School and a Ph.D. in physiology from UCLA.* In his spare time, he enjoys golfing, reading and painting. Dr. Heber’s favorite Herbalife products are Formula 1 Healthy Meal Nutritional Shake Mix, Herbalife Personalized Protein Powder and the SKIN product line.

*The University of California does not endorse specific products or services as a matter of policy.