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Train your brain: 4 exercises that will keep your mind sharp

Here are some exercises you can do to build up your brain strength!

When you hear the word exercise, you probably think of sprints, squats or other workouts for your body. However, working out our brains is just as important! Exercising your mind not only keeps your brain sharp, it can make you smarter and help you live a longer and healthier life. Here are a few easy exercises you can try at home:

Colour test

Try to say the colour NOT the word, as fast as you can!

This exercise makes you smarter by working both sides of your brain. Your right brain wants to say the colour, while your left concentrates on saying the word. The better you are at doing this, the better you are at juggling both sides of your brain! If you found this one tricky, it's probably because studies show that we read words faster than we identify colours. 

Blindfold test

Have a friend blindfold you place random everyday objects in front of you. Touch, feel, and smell the objects to see if you can determine what they are!

This quiz is focused on your sense of touch. When other senses, like sight, are taken away, our brain's dependency on touch becomes much greater. When the objects react to your skin — the largest sensory organ in the body — receptors are triggered that send nerve impulses to your brain, telling you what the object is. Without the help of your other senses, your perception of the objects you're feeling changes, as your frame of reference to the object has been limited. This explains why you might have had some trouble identifying familiar objects! 

Non-dominant hand writing 

Try writing with your non-dominant hand. See how long it takes you. Does it resemble your writing done with your dominant hand?

(Credit: iStock/Getty Images)

Experts say using your non-dominant hand helps your brain to better integrate its two hemispheres. Research shows that musicians who use both hands have about a 9 percent increase in the size of their corpus callosum (the part of the brain that connects the two hemispheres). So, using both hands can likely create more transfer between the hemispheres of your brain, which, in turn, can benefit your intelligence and ability to process information.

Mirror star trace

Place a mirror near this picture of a star so that you can see its reflection. While only looking in the mirror, try to trace the shape and stay in the lines of the star. 

This mirror-tracing activity is a visual and motor test that involves learning a new motor skill. Studies have shown that right-handed people will take longer to complete the task with their right hand. Your right hand is controlled by the left hemisphere of your brain, so the reflection of the star in the mirror confuses all the signals in your brain, as they're different than what it's accustomed to. Left handed people are better at this exercise as their brains are generally a bit more bi-lateral.