It’s common knowledge that keeping physically fit is important to our health and well-being. But is there such a thing as keeping your brain in shape, too? According to Michael Scanlon, Chief Scientific Officer at Lumosity, the answer is yes. Founded in 2005 by Scanlon and a group of fellow scientists, Lumosity is an online database that offers its users (now numbering 60 million worldwide) tailored brain “work-outs” in the form of cognitive games and exercises. Scanlon, a Stanford University trained neuroscientist, develops these exercises according to Lumosity's growing body of research that suggests our brains can be strengthened just like our muscles
Here, Scanlon, shares the apps that help him get motivated for a bike ride and understand meditation.
To Chart: Strava
I'm an avid runner and cyclist, and Strava helps me stay motivated by recording my workouts so I can see my progress and compare my performance to everybody else. It's also fun to see what my friends are up to and get inspiration for new routes. Because it's stored in perpetuity it feels like I get 'credit' for the effort. So far I've logged about 12,000 miles of bicycling on Strava.
To Discover: SoundCloud
I love listening to and exploring new music, but what I like most about SoundCloud is that it lets you listen to a variety of artists – from mainstream artists to DJs to my friends' bands. It's really easy to create playlists, skip to the next song, and even scrub through a song.
To Explore: Yelp
Yelp's headquarters is actually in our building in San Francisco and I've been using Yelp since just weeks after their launch. I often find it's easier to find the address for a business on Yelp than it is to use the map apps. It's a great resource for finding new places to explore, and to vet a restaurant before trying it for the first time.
To Train: Lumosity
Of course I also use Lumosity to exercise my cognitive function. I like to use the app to complement the training I do on the website, especially when away from my computer or if I want to train offline.
To Practice Mindfulness: Headspace
As a neuroscientist, I am always interested in activities that can impact the brain, and research suggests that meditation can not only help people to feel and think better, but also changes brain physiology. I think most people in our society today could benefit from some mindfulness practice, and Headspace makes it easy for novices like me to understand what to do and to stay motivated.
For more information and inspiration visit MariaShriver.com