There’s something about the new school year that makes a lot of us want to make a fresh start.
To try something new.
If you’re thinking about taking up a new hobby, then here are 5 ideas for things you can try that will let you learn something new, and help make you smarter too.
1. Learn a new language
If your children are learning another language at school this year, then think about having a go at learning it too.
You can go to classes, find a conversation group to join or study online.
Learning a new language is a great way to boost your brain health. A study carried out by Dr Thomas Bak, from the Centre for Cognitive Ageing and Cognitive Epidemiology at the University of Edinburgh found that people who spoke two or more languages showed significantly higher levels of cognitive abilities than they would expect from their baseline tests.
And the age at which you learn a second language doesn’t seem to matter, the benefits are the same.
2. Read more
Make a decision to switch off Netflix an hour before bedtime and read something instead.
Reading is a great way to reduce stress, and is the perfect way to wind down at the end of the day, away from the blue light of screens.
If you read a mix of different types of books, from fiction to biographies to poetry to non-fiction you’ll learn so much about different subjects that you might never otherwise come across. You’ll pick up a much more varied vocabulary and open up your world to different views and opinions.
3. Take up a sport
There are so many benefits of regular exercise, including lower stress and better sleep. But taking up a sport can also help boost your brain power.
Playing sports regularly helps to improve our coordination, confidence and responsiveness. It also makes our brains more flexible and boosts our overall brain health.
And if you’re really not up for playing sports yourself, you can still get some benefits from watching it from the sidelines. Watching sports has been shown to engage different parts of our brains, as we learn new sport-related vocabulary and game rules. All of which leads to increased brain function.
4. Pick up a musical instrument
If you’ve not played a musical instrument since you learnt 3 blind mice on the recorder at school, then it might be time to give the whole thing another go.
Whether you decide to go with the guitar, the piano or the drums, you can either find a local teacher to have lessons with or teach yourself with the help of YouTube tutorials.
Studies have found that playing musical instruments increases our memory capacity, teaches us perseverance and improves our concentration.
5. Join a quiz team
Or get your friends together and start a new one, and head along to your local pub quiz night.
Testing your brain with quizzes is a great way to keep you sharp and boost your mental abilities.
If quiz nights aren’t really your thing then you can get the same benefits from doing things like crosswords, word searches, sudoku, and word puzzles at home. These kind of activities help our brains to form new pathways, test our memories and improve our problem-solving and creative thinking skills.
Which of these hobbies do you think you might take up this year?
Do you find that the new school year makes you want to branch out and learn something new?