The brain is like a muscle – if you don’t give it a regular workout, it loses tone.

Here are some tips to help you improve your mental fitness:

  1. Exercise for 30 minutes every day. Physical exercise delivers oxygen to the brain. This can help to improve your memory, reasoning abilities and reaction times.

  2. Read often and read widely. Keeping an active interest in the world around you will help to exercise your brain and improve your mental fitness.

  3. Boost your levels of vitamin B. Eat plenty of wholegrain cereals, leafy greens and dairy foods. Vitamin B is essential to brain health.

  4. Challenge your intellect and memory. Stretch yourself mentally by learning a new language, doing the cryptic crossword or playing chess. This is important for brain health and good for your social life.

  5. Take time to relax. Excess stress hormones like cortisol can be harmful to the brain. Schedule regular periods of relaxation into your week.

  6. Take up a new hobby. Learning something new gives the ‘grey matter’ a workout and builds neural pathways in the brain.

  7. Actively manage your health.Conditions such as diabetes or heart disease can affect mental performance if not diagnosed and treated. Have regular check-ups with your doctor to prevent future problems.

  8. Engage in stimulating conversations. Talk to friends and family about a wide range of topics. This gives your brain an opportunity to explore, examine and enquire.

  9. Take up a manual activity or craft. Hobbies such as woodwork and sewing or activities like skipping require you to move both sides of the body at the same time, in precise movements. This can help to improve your spatial awareness and increase your reaction time.

  10. Exercise your brain with others. Watch, question and answer game shows and enjoy the competitive spirit. Involve the family in regular games to test their general knowledge.

Content Partner

This page has been produced in consultation with and approved by: Department of Health and Human Services - HSP&A - Mental Health

Last updated: January 2013

Content on this website is provided for education and information purposes only. Information about a therapy, service, product or treatment does not imply endorsement and is not intended to replace advice from your doctor or other registered health professional. Content has been prepared for Victorian residents and wider Australian audiences, and was accurate at the time of publication. Readers should note that, over time, currency and completeness of the information may change. All users are urged to always seek advice from a registered health care professional for diagnosis and answers to their medical questions.