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What are the top hobbies that make you smarter?

Quora Saul Venskutonis Answer!

Here are top 5 in no particular order:

1. Chess

Chess is not only a great hobby, but also has been proven to literally make you smarter by exercising both side of your brain. Studies have shown it to raise levels of IQ in students, stimulate creativity, improve memory, strengthen concentration, prevent Alzheimer’s and grow dendrites(tree-like branches that conduct signals from other neural cells. The bigger they are, the more signals you will pick up.)


2. Reading

As many other answers here have noted , reading is very important in order to increase one’s cognitive abilities, creativity and keep that brain young. Not only does it relieve stress, but also stimulates your cerebral cortex by building new synapses and strengthening the existing ones. Reading develops yours vocabulary, verbal intelligence and memory.


3. Writing/Blogging/Answering Quora Question

This is one of my favourites. Among the usual benefits such as improved ability to focus and express ideas cohesively you also gain fantastic amounts of knowledge. In order to write something useful you will have to come back to hobby number 2 A LOT. Doing research and writing everthing in your own words helps you to memorize better. Subsequently you learn new and interesting thing, which will definitely make you a more interesting and intelligent person. Give it a try and answer a Quora question today.


4. Exercising

Scientists all over the world almost unanimously agree that exercising is good for your brain. It reduces stress and also improves blood circulation to the brain. Also researchers in the University of  British Columbia discovered that even simple aerobic exercise increase the size of hippocampus  – the brain area involved in  verbal memory and learning. So, whether you run marathons or have never touched weights in your life – now is the time to start exercising regularly. Go for a run or hit the gym. What I especially recommend is exercising early in the morning before work or school. You will start thinking more clearly and have more energy throughout the day.


5. Playing a musical instrument

As TED educator Anita Collins say “When you listen to music, multiple areas of your brain become engaged and active. But when you actually play an instrument, that activity becomes more like a full-body brain workout.”. Playing an instrument is definitely your go-for hobby to get smarter. Almost every smart and famous person played an instrument: Einstein played piano and the violin, Charles Diskens played the accordion, Steven Spielberg plays clarinet, etc. Personally I play the guitar. It may not make me smarter, but helps me to relax and acts as meditation. That brings me to.


Bonus: Meditation

Harvard neuro scientist Sara Laza conducted a research to find connection between the mind and body during during meditation. Her findings show that subjects, who meditated had thickened parts of brain responsible for: learning, cognition, memory, empathy, compassion and many more.

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