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Being a teacher means that you don’t just help young people to learn on a daily basis, you also learn a lot yourself in the process. From new words to historical dates, chemical compositions to artistic styles, teaching is the perfect career for people who are passionate about lifelong learning.

However, though you’re always busy, schedules and general repetition can lead to the brain being excellent in some areas but a little sluggish in others. In order to keep your grey matter growing, here are a few brain training tips that are perfect for fitting into your personal time.

Write using your non-dominant hand

Here’s a nice and easy one to start with. The majority of us have just the one hand that’s dominant, using it for everything from turning a screwdriver to flipping a coin. Whilst the muscles in that arm will naturally be a little stronger, you can also bulk up your brain by trying some writing exercises with your non-dominant hand.

By carrying out a task that’s usually very simple but which is suddenly quite complicated, your brain really kicks in to improve your hand-eye coordination. Even just writing your name or a simple sentence over and over again is a great brain workout, plus you’ll improve the overall dexterity of your non-writing hand in the process.

Draw a map of your neighbourhood from memory

This is a fun challenge that can really keep you busy. Start by drawing a basic bird’s eye view of the area around your house – where the individual houses are, backyards, alleyways etc. Now go more in-depth by adding in other items and structures, such as telegraph poles, post boxes, trees, flowerbeds and so on.

Now spread our into other streets and go into as much detail as you wish, such as thinking about which houses have solar panels and how many cars each driveway usually holds. The more minutiae you can add without cheating by looking out of the window, the greater your memory capacity will become.

This doesn’t have to be done all in one go. In fact, you can look around each morning on your way to work and memorise new information, then add it to your handmade map later in the evening. The key is to keep on going for as long as you can – maybe you’ll end up mapping the entire city on sheets of A4!

Do sums in your head

No pencil and paper for this one, and certainly no calculator. Doing mental arithmetic doesn’t just improve your numerical skills, it also helps you to get better at plotting, memorising and thinking logically. Start small in relation to your current maths skills, then make it harder as you go along. This could be a case of incorporating larger numbers, ratios, square numbers, sequences – whatever will work up a mental sweat!

Put your taste buds to the test

This is an interesting one that you may not have come across. When eating a meal or drinking something like a smoothie or herbal tea, take your time and try to detect the individual ingredients and flavours. Even if you’ve prepared the meal or beverage yourself, focusing on the unique herbs, spices, characters and sensations will keep your brain busy whilst you refuel your body.

Learn a new sport

It’s tempting to think that physical training and brain training are totally separate things, yet learning a new sport requires mind and body working closely in unison.

The more you have to think and respond, the better, so try something like tennis, golf or yoga. If you don’t want to get too tired out, even playing pool or darts allows you to move your body whilst calculating factors such as angles, trajectories and possible outcomes.

Get in touch

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