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Brain Rules: How to Increase Brain Power

February 11, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 162

Brain Rules is the New York Times Bestseller book written by John Medina. This book will help you to understand how your brain works. Most of us have no idea what is really going inside our brains. How do we learn? Does exercise boost our brain powers? Why we feel tired and want to take a nap at around 3 o'clock in the afternoon? Why multi-tasking does not work? How can we increase our memory?

Some of the interesting things that I learned from this book are following:-

Health Exercise

According to a research, exercise increases brain power. People who have weak mental abilities started doing health exercise. Just after 4 weeks, their brain power have improved. So now the question is what type of exercise must you do, and how much of it must be done to increase your brain power?

After years of study, they found out that aerobic exercise, 30 minutes per day, two or three times per week is beneficial immediately and over the long term. In one study done on 10,000 British civil servants between the ages of 35 and 55, people who do less physical activities have poor cognitive skills. Their problem solving skills were particularly weak.

Why Health Exercise is useful to the brain?

Your brain needs oxygen and food to function properly. It may surprise you to know that your brain represents only about the 2% of your body weight but it accounts for about 20% of the body's total energy usage. In other words, your brain uses a large part (20%) of whatever you eat to function properly and generates a lot of toxic waste. Health exercise helps your brain to remove this toxic waste. The more toxic waste you can remove, the better your brain will function.

The benefits of exercise seem nearly endless. Exercise makes your bones and muscles stronger. It improves your strength. It helps regulate your appetite and reduces the risk for more than a dozen types of deadly diseases. In a study done on students, they found out that when children exercised twice per week, their brains worked better, they got better marks in their exams because exercise helped increasing the oxygen supply to their brain.


The author says that DNA evidence has been helpful to confirm that we came from Africa somewhere between 7 million and 10 million years ago. The human brain seems to be designed to solve problem and find new ways to survive in different conditions. Humans have been able to survive for so many years on this planet despite many environmental changes. We had two ways to beat the cruelty of the environment: we could have become stronger or we could have become smarter. We chose the second one. We didn't become stronger; we became smarter.

The author says to beat the cruelty of environment, human learned to walk on two legs rather than walking on four legs like animals. It freed our hands and it was also energy-efficient. it used fewer calories than walking on four legs. Our ancestors uses this energy surplus not to pump their body power but to pump up their brain power. Human learned to live and work with others as a team. We learned to cooperate.

Brain Wiring

Every human brain is wired differently. Nobel prize winner scientist Eric Kandel figured out that when people learn something new, the wiring in their brains change. Their brains make new connections. The study found out that the brain of violin players were wired differently when compared with non-violin players. Here is a good news - the brain acts like a muscle: the more activity you do; the larger and more active it can become.

The study found out that you can learn anything you want. You just need to spend enough hours to practicing that thing. What you do in your daily life determines how your brain looks like. You can wire and rewire your brain by making some simple choices daily. You can learn any musical instrument or sport. It may surprise you to know that your brain stores different information in different areas of your brain, for example bilingual people don't even store their Spanish and their English in similar places.

Attention and Memory

Do you want to improve your memory? Then you should read this chapter carefully. According to the author, the more attention the brain pays to a given stimulus, the more elaborately the information will be stored and retained. In other words, we can remember things more efficiently on which we give most of our attention. We generally pay a lot of attentions on the things like emotions, threats and sex. It is hard to forget when someone threatens you or when someone talks about having sex with you.

Different memories have different life spans, some memories hang around for a few minutes and then vanish. Some memories persist for days or months even for a lifetime. According to a study, people forget 90% of what they learn in a class within 30 day. The majority of this forgetting occurs within the first few hours of the class. The study shows that one could increase the life span of a memory simply by repeating the information. The more you repeat an information, the longer it will persist in your brain.

According to another study, the group of students that processes the meaning of the words always remember two or three time more words than the group that do not know the meaning of that words. It means the more you can focus on the meaning of an information, the longer you would be able to remember that information. So when you are trying to encode some information into your brain's memory system, make sure you understand exactly what the information means. The another way - thinking or talking about the events that has just occurred, can enhance your memory for that event.

The Brain Cannot Multitask

If you want your brain to function efficiently you should not multitask. For example, one person says that while working on Ms-word, he loves to listen music as it helps him to concentrate on his work. He types one sentence and then tap out a Face book message, then he sees who has sent him message. He responds to the message and then return to his work. In this case, he is not working efficiently, he is just wasting a lot of time and energy.

Because when he is working on Ms-word, he is using information from a different area of his brain and when he responds to the message from his girl friend, his brain must disengage from his work and takes information from a different area of his brain. It is time consuming. Studies shows that a person who is interrupted take 50% longer to accomplish a task. Not only time, but he also makes up to 50% more errors. Here is another example, you cannot drive while talking on cell phone. Perhaps you don't realize but it is very dangerous. Cell-phone talkers are half-second slower to hit the brake. It is like driving drunk. Your brain cannot perform these two activities simultaneously.

Sleep well, Think well

Perhaps you know it already that when you are sleeping, your brain is not resting at all, in fact it is more active than while you are awake. In one study, they found out that your brain takes rest for a very short period while you are in a deep sleep. Your body needs sleep after about 16 hours of active consciousness. The research shows that one night's loss of sleep results in about 30% loss in overall cognitive skills, with a subsequent drop in performance.

Sleep is also a great friend to learning. We need to sleep so that we can learn. A healthy sleep of 7-8 hours per day can boost your learning skills significantly. According to author, sleep loss = brain loss. In a study they found out that the animal's brain replays what it learned while it sleeps. The same was true for humans. Humans appear to repeat certain daily learning experiences at night.

Final thoughts on this book

The 12 brain rules described in this book should be taught in every school and college. There are very few books written so well on the subject of how the human brain works. This book is one of them. If you want to learn how your brain works and how you can increase your brain power then you should buy and read this book. This is one of the best books I've read this year and I highly recommend it to you.

About the Author

Lakhvir invites you to read more similar articles at where he publishes short summaries of Best-selling books. So visit his blog because you can Read a Best-seller Book in only 10 minutes and you can also download Free E-books.

Source: EzineArticles
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Article Tags:

Health Exercise For Brain


Brain Rules Book Review


John Medina


How To Increase Brain Power

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