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What Are the Best Left Brain Exercises?

Balancing a checkbook without a calculator can be a good left brain exercise.
The left side of the brain handles logic and reasoning.
Crossword puzzles are good brain exercisers.
Math, logic, and spelling exercises can help improve left brain function.
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  • Written By: C. Mitchell
  • Edited By: John Allen
  • Last Modified Date: 12 September 2014
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Although little about brain health, function, and power potential is known with definite certainty, scientists have long been able to establish the general strengths and weaknesses of the human brain’s hemispheres. The right brain, in most people, is the home of spatial recognition abilities, visual and artistic aptitude, and musical skills. The left brain’s dominant features include language aptitude, logical reasoning, and rational skills like mathematical capabilities. The best left brain exercises are those that strengthen the left brain’s core dominance areas. Math problems, logic puzzles, and even spelling drills — any sorts of exercises that prioritize the factual and concrete — are among the best left brain exercises.

Many people believe that if all of the brain’s capabilities are not used and practiced, their functionalities will diminish over time. There is some debate with respect to whether individuals can actually strengthen specific brain hemispheres with targeted exercises. Most medical professionals agree, however, that the brain’s overall sharpness and mental acuity can be at least preserved by regular exercise and drills.

Each brain hemisphere has different roles, and different dominances. People will often identify themselves as either “left brained” or “right brained,” which is a way of identifying individual learning style. So-called right-brained thinkers are often more artistic, visual learners, while left-brained thinkers are more spatial, logic-oriented thinkers. All people have the ability to tap into the skills of both hemispheres. Dominance has only to do with which kind of learning or thinking comes more easily.

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Medical professionals often recommend that people exercise their less-dominant hemisphere to maintain brain fitness, particularly as people age. For right-brained people, this means undertaking left brain exercises. The left brain is also known as the analytic brain, and the best left brain exercises are, perhaps unsurprisingly, mostly analytical in nature in order to match those left brain functions.

Common left brain exercises include math drills, word puzzles, and logic problems. The problems need not be advanced or difficult. The goal is to improve brain acuity, not necessarily to raise intelligence. Most of the time, left brain games are designed to be for the brain what a brisk walk is for the body: exercise and movement, but nothing overly strenuous. Left brain cognitive exercises are meant to keep the left brain active, and to encourage left brain development.

Some companies will sell workbooks or computer games geared towards brain improvement. These products can be helpful, but are not always necessary. Left brain activities exist in many everyday tasks. Forcing one’s self to balance the checkbook without a calculator, or estimate a grocery tab based on items in the cart, are left brain exercises. So is working a crossword puzzle, or making new words out of the letters in a given word or sentence. Making lists and ordering items in closets or cupboards count, too. The goal of left brain exercise is to tap into analytical reasoning and logic, and no one method is necessarily better than another.

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