Studies have indicated that thirty minutes of challenging mental exercise every day may help to slow down the onset of brain aging and assist in retaining brain function for a longer period of time. Unfortunately, the average person may not obtain this type of challenging mental stimulation on a regular basis. Congratulations on choosing to challenge your brain with brain aerobic exercises!

I consider Brain Benders to be a whole-brained aerobic exercise because solving them tends to require the use of functions in all four chunks of cerebral tissue. Each cerebral division contributes functions that enable you to develop skills. For example: 

1

Left Frontal Lobe
• Defines words
• Prioritizes options

3

Right Frontal Lobe 
• Brainstorms options
• Pictures solutions 

2

Left Posterior Lobes 
• Reads words
• Organizes sequences 

4

Right Posterior Lobes
• Notices relationships of letters
and words to each other 

Most brains use the left hemisphere to figure out the letters and words and the right hemisphere to pay attention to the position of the letters and words to each other or to the lines of each puzzle box. Thus it can be important to note the relative position of the words to each other or to the lines of the puzzle box itself.

A Learned Skill

If you’ve attended any of Dr. Taylor’s brain-function seminars, you likely had an opportunity to practice solving Brain Benders. You may even have given her ideas for new puzzles. If you haven’t, following is a short explanation of how to solve Brain Benders. Take this Brain Bender for example:

LIESEIL

When you read these letters left to right, you find the word “lies.” When you read these letters right to left, you also find the word “lies.” That gives you two “lies.” As your brain thinks about this it may come up with several possible solutions, such as:

  • Two lies
  • More than one lie
  • A pair of lies
  • Paralyze

You might even come up with a different solution altogether.

Remember:

  • The way in which the word is spelled may be irrelevant. In the example above the word could have been spelled LYESEYL.
  • Say the word(s) aloud and listen for how the sound. The words “awl” and “all” or “there” and “their” will sound alike. So do “lie” and “lye.”
  • In order to provide challenging stimulation to your brain, identify at least one solution before you check the suggested solutions provided for each set of Brain Benders.
  • There are no “right” or “wrong” answers. The suggested solutions represent what the “creator’s brain” thought of.
  • Solving Brain Benders is a learned skill (although some brains may find it a bit easier to develop this skill than do others).

As you increase your skill, your brain might start triggering you to think of puzzles on your own. Feel free to send your Brain Benders to Dr. Taylor to include in additional sets of Brain Aerobic Exercises.

Use it or lose it!

Neurons function much in the same way as muscle tissue. These cells tend to get stronger with mental exercise. In fact, the more they are challenged and stimulated the stronger they become and the further they stretch. This shortens the distance across the synaptic gap. Of course the reverse is true. Neurons tend to shrivel up and atrophy with disuse. This is one cause of memory problems that can occur as the brain ages. (Refer to Brain References – Neurons and Neurotransmitters for more information on neurons.)

This is where Brain Benders may help. These cerebral teasers are designed to stimulate neurons. One key to successful living is flexibility. Without flexibility, trees would crack and break during a gale instead of gracefully bending with the wind.

In a similar way, solving Brain Benders can stimulate your neurons to be more flexible. In turn, this can help you learn to think more effectively, brainstorm outside the box, develop higher levels of creativity, hone your imagination, and enhance your brain function. What a great way to have fun and age-proof your brain at the same time. It’s time to get started....