What is it?

Coined by Lawrence Katz, Ph.D and Manning Ruben, the term neurobics refers to the science of brain exercise. The idea is that if you use your five physical senses along with emotional sense in unexpected ways, you activate underused nerve pathways and connections. Think about going to the gym. The non-dominant side of your body is typically weaker than the dominant. When you lift weights, you activate those underused muscles in order to build them up.

How do I do it?

To be considered a neurobic exercise, you should be meeting at least one of these key conditions:

  1. Involve one or more of your senses in a novel context or combine two or more senses in an unusual way.
  2. Involve your full attention, at least briefly.
  3. Break a routine activity in a significant way.

The following exercises each use one or more of the above conditions. Try doing at least one every day. You can also make up your own and share them with our online community!

  • Get dressed or unlock your door with your eyes closed.
  • Watch part of a TV show with no volume and make up what the characters are saying (you could also do this with a friend and each play a role).
  • Try to identify coins or other objects in a bag or pocket using only your sense of touch.
  • Eat or brush your teeth with your non-dominant hand.
  • Take a different route to work/shopping/coffee.
  • Pick random spices from your cupboard and try to identify them by smell.
  • Shop at a new store. You won't know where your usual items are located.
  • Write or colour with your non-dominant hand.
  • Try writing backwards. Check how you did using a mirror!
  • Sit in a different spot to eat your breakfast or do other daily activities.
  • Listen to music with your eyes closed while smelling a scent such as vanilla or lavender, or try tapping along with music so you can feel its pulse.
  • Spend time with nature (bird watching, taking macro photos of flowers and insects). This may be nice with a child/grandchild.
  • Rearrange your desk or kitchen table for a day.

Here are some links for more ideas online:

By the way, you don't have to wait until you feel like your memory is failing.

Neurobics is for EVERYONE!