The views of this article are the perspective of the author and may not be reflective of Confessions of the Professions.
Hobbies for Intelligence
It’s been said that the type of hobbies you take part in within your lifetime can actually have a positive impact on our brains and can help to make us smarter.
The latest infographic from our friends over at ProEssayWriter have taken a look at 5 hobbies that are perfect for anyone wanting to get a one up on their intelligence and some of them you may be a little bit surprised by.
Take for example, playing video games. We are constantly told by our parents and by the media that playing video games can be bad for you but in moderate doses, they can actually have a significant impact on our brains. According to a study from Leiden University, playing video games can help to develop working memory and helping to improve spatial navigation and motor performance. 30 minutes a day can be put aside as ‘brain training’!
Learning a new language can do wonders for traveling and communicating around the world but it can also help to improve the executive function of the brain, which essentially means that mentally demanding tasks will be able to perform better. Thanks to mobile apps, you can learn a language on the go nowadays too so there’s no excuse.
Take a look at the infographic below to find out which hobbies to partake in for added smart points.
Click to open / Right-click for save options
5 hobbies that can make you smarter
Our hobbies can speak volumes about our personality. But aside from relaxation and entertainment, your pastimes could also be making you smarter.
1 Exercising regularly
We all know it’s goo for us, but did you know that regular exercise makes you smarter?
Enhances object recognition memory – the ability to discriminate the familiarity of previously encountered objects.
Releases brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) – a protein linked to cognitive benefits such as long-term memory. (Dartmouth Colege, 2009)
Regular exercise doesn’t have to be a chore. From yoga to running, do whatever you enjoy most.
2 Playing a musical instrument
Few things are as satisfying as learning an instrument, but there’s more to it than just music.
Enhances cognitive skills an academic achievement by promoting the development of certain executive functions.
Children able to play an instrument show enhance performance for verbal fluency and processing speed. (Boston Children’s Hospital, 2014)
Whether it’s self-taught or with a teacher, anyone can learn an instrument. Start at a younger age to get the most out of your musical pastime.
3 Playing video games
Video games may have a bad reputation, but they’re not all bad – some really do train your brain.
Develops working memory – the system responsible for holding and processing new and already-stored information (Leiden University, 2012).
Improves spatial navigation, strategic planning and motor performance – 30 minutes of playing a day can significantly increase grey matter in the brain (Charité, 2013).
From cinematic shoot ’em ups to calming puzzlers, gaming has something for everyone – just try not to get sucked into a 24 hour DOTA session.
4 Learning a new Language
Learning a language isn’t just useful for traveling – it can also slow brain aging and have a positive effect on later-life cognition.
Speaking multiple languages improves the brain’s executive function – meaning mentally demanding tasks can be performed better.
Bilinguals are better at solving puzzles, planning and task management due to better attention and task-switching capacities in the brain. (Cerebrum, 2012)
Reading improves our vocabulary, but what are the other benefits to being a bookworm?
Daily reading causes significant increases in connectivity in the left temporal cortex of the brain – an area associated with receptivity for language.
Readers experience embodied semantics, a process that mirrors brain connectivity that occurs during actions – e.g. reading about driving can trigger the same neural connections triggered when actually driving. (Emory University, 2013)
You don’t have to pick up Proust to reap the benefits – reading anything will keep your mind energized (good news for comic books fans everywhere).
From getting stuck into an epic RPG or being engrossed in the latest Atwood novel, you never know what might be stretching your brain for the better.
So take an extra day off, it’ll be good for you.