Start improving your cognitive fitness and building a healthier, smarter, and stronger brain through these four practical habits.

Eat more Omega-3s.

  • The human brain is nearly 60 percent fat, including a large portion of an Omega-3 fatty acid called Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).
  • DHA promotes new neuron growth, which allows your brain to operate much more efficiently and effectively.
  • Omega-3s in your diet will enhance your memory, attention-to-detail, mood and charisma, and ability to assimilate and implement information.
  • Foods such as salmon, herring, mackerel, anchovies, sardines, and trout contain Omega-3s. If the sound of those foods turns your nose up, invest in a fish oil supplement.

Play chess

  • Being able to recognize trends and adapt is an essential skill that playing chess teaches.
  • A 2010 study appearing in the Journal of Experimental Psychology, researchers discovered that playing chess boosted both sides of your brain.
  • Chess stimulates the growth of dendrites, which are tree-like branches that conduct signals from other neuron cells into the neuron they’re attached too. Bigger and faster neurons increase your ability to process information.
  • Sign up for a free account at chess.com.

Learn a new language

  • Learning a second language increases the volume of your brain. It’s an evolutionary advantage that helps strengthen your “mental muscles.” No weights required.
  • A study by the University of Chicago appearing in the April 2012 issue of Psychological Science found that people who spoke an additional language were better able to pick up nuances and subtleties in any given situation.
  • Starting with any language app for as little as 15 minutes is a great way to build this habit—for example, Duolingo.

Learn how to dance

  • As you age, the typical person sees a decrease in their motor, cognitive, and perceptual abilities. You can build a sharper brain by learning how to dance—and you don’t need to have the skills of a professional dancer.
  • Dancing improves cerebral health. In particular, spatial memory, along with preserving and even enhancing your motor, other cognitive, and perceptual abilities.