Exercises to Stimulate the Left Side of the Brain

Your brain is like a muscle. To keep it as fit as the rest of your body, you have to exercise it. Left brain exercises can be active and physical or passive and mental. Stimulating one hemisphere can further refine your brain-building efforts. By activating the left side of your brain, you will enhance your ability to analyze words and numbers.

Games, physical activity and music can activate the left brain hemisphere. (Image: Banar Fil Ardhi / EyeEm/EyeEm/GettyImages)

Significance of the Left Brain

Your cerebrum makes up the bulk of your brain and has two parts, the left and right hemispheres. Both sides communicate with each other through the corpus callosum, a network of nerves.

Each hemisphere of your brain controls the muscles and senses on the opposite side of your body. The left hemisphere is responsible for mental activities like logic, analysis, speech, language and numbers.

It's important to note that left brain stimulation can be increased by using the right side of the body or engaging in activities like problem-solving or playing a musical instrument.

Left-Brain-Stimulating Games

Since the left side of your brain processes language and mathematics, puzzles or games in those subjects will sharpen that hemisphere.

When you try to solve a word puzzle, for example, electrical and chemical impulses travel among the neurons in the left hemisphere until you identify the answer.

Games like Sudoku and crossword puzzles, logic brainteasers and mathematical word problems all exercise the left side of your brain. There are many books, websites and even smartphone apps to keep you well stocked with left brain activities.

Physical Left Brain Exercises

Exercising the right side of your body wakes up the left side of your brain. Even writing with your right hand is helpful. A study published in 2013 by Plos One found that hand clenching can increase neuronal activity in the opposing hemisphere.

For example, clenching your right hand would increase activity in the left side of the brain. By activating the left brain, you may be forming a stronger memory of an event or action.

According to lead researcher Ruth Propper, simple body movements can temporarily change the way the brain functions and can improve memory. Conversely, squeezing a ball in your left hand can activate the right side of the brain and stimulate right-hemisphere functions such as creativity.

Music and the Brain

A 2015 study conducted by researchers at the University of Jyväskylä in Finland and published by Plos One found that playing music enhances activity in the left hemisphere, while simultaneously activating the right hemisphere.

Musicians who underwent brain scans while listening to music seemed to fire off more symmetrically, and the activity in the left and right hemispheres was a much closer match than it was for the non-musicians.

Moreover, the effect of the music depended on what type of instrument they played. The brains of keyboard players, for instance, fired off more symmetrically, perhaps because piano players require the use of both hands. The results of the study show that music learning can stimulate both the left and right hemispheres of the brain.

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