Give the Gift of Better Brain Fitness! Our 2013 Totally Brain Healthy Gift Guide

What better way to celebrate the season than with a gift to boost the brainpower of those on your list? From your boss to your spouse, mom or mom-in-law, kids, grandkids and all those folks in between, each can use a way to maximize their intellectual potential.

Here at Memory Arts, we are always on the look out for cool and fun ways to boost brain power. We had a great time putting together our 2nd Annual Totally Brain Healthy Gift Guide, and know these items are sure to tickle the neurons of those on your list.

Here’s this year’s top 10 list for brain healthy gifts. We’ve covered the full range of Body|Mind|Spirit activities that are part of our Total Brain Health® blueprint, with ways of engaging that have been shown to improve everyday performance and long term brain vitality. There’s something for everyone and every price point – even some suggestions that are free! Each suggestion is linked to make your shopping even easier.

Here’s to a holiday season full of many wonderful memories!

1. Give Them Some New Moves

When it comes to bettering brain health across the board, nothing comes close to the benefits of aerobic activity. Reinvigorate their workout with the Noodle, a flexible version of the hula-hoop, sure to provide a good old-fashioned workout they can take anywhere. Or put some zing in their game with a Ping Pong Tabletop Set, a great workout for both body and spirit (and inspire them by sharing the documentary film Ping Pong: Never Too Old for Gold).

2. Perplex Them

Here’s a brainteaser that’s become a new obsession in our household: Perplexus is a marble maze in a globe that’s both mind boggling and addictive. The company offers several versions, including the original version and the Epic Maze (that’s the one we’ve got). There’s even one for the younger set aptly named the Rookie.

3. Take Their Ohm to Ahhh

Regular readers know that I am passionate about the brain benefits of yoga. Not only does a regular yoga practice provide opportunities to train for strength, stability and flexibility (all key to maintaining good physical health), it also offers a wonderful opportunity to build attention, practice mindfulness and reduce stress. Take their yoga practice to a new level of luxury with a beautiful yoga blanket made in India of 100% cotton, from the wonderful new company Priti Collection. These blankets look equally awesome on the mat or in the living room. You can also choose to donate a blanket in their honor to someone in need through the site as another way of fulfilling the spirit of giving this season.

4. Get Their Zumba® On

Dancing is a great work out for body, mind and spirit. And what better way to get them grooving than through the high energy Zumba® dancing? Zumba is always a huge hit at our Total Brain Health® Fairs, we really don’t know anyone who doesn’t love it. Better yet, you can choose oh so many ways of giving this gift – as an MP3 download of the Zumba tunes, a Wii game version, or the whole DVD system – there’s even one just for the Boomers in your life.

5. Your Best Brain Book Ever

I’d be remiss not to include a book that is sure to tickle their neurons. My latest collaboration with National Geographic, “Your Best Brain Ever” is hot off the presses this December. Not only does it include a clear sense of the science of the brain and brain fitness, but it also offers a great series of fun activities along our Total Brain Health® blueprint.

6. Give In Their Honor

No doubt there are many on your list who don’t need another “thing.” Why not make a donation in their honor to those who are in need? Among our top choices of charities are the Alzheimer’s Association and the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation, which funds early stage research in Alzheimer’s treatments.  Or find one that better suits your gift recipient, or that you yourself would like to support.

7. Track Their Every Move

Help them make every motion count with an exercise tracker such as the Fit Bit. This souped up tracker keeps tabs on their activity, calories burned, and sleep, all critical to better brain fitness. It syncs with their computer or phone, and even has a way to connect and keep track with friends for that added social element (so maybe you should get one for yourself as well).

8. Puzzle Your Favorite Egghead

Tangrams, an ancient Eastern puzzle game, are a great workout for visual perception and integration skills. The Tangram Egg Puzzle provides pieces you put together to match different abstract solution pictures of different birds and fowl. You can up the ante by providing them with an egg timer to add a time challenge to the game. Help save those you love from “birdbrain syndrome” with this tried and true mind bender (sorry, I couldn’t resist).

9. Present Presence

Mindfulness is a popular meditation practice that teaches us to be in the moment, fully and simply. An elegant yet accessible form of meditation, mindfulness has recently been the subject of greater research, as studies suggest that it is a powerful tool in building attention, memory and reducing stress. Give the present of learning to be present with an audiotape instruction series from Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn, renowned mindfulness expert and master teacher. Or look for a local mindfulness training class through your local Y, adult education program, or yoga studio, and give the gift of taking a mindfulness class together.

10. Brain Tracking Made Easy

How about an app that helps them keep tabs on those intellectual skills we need to function well everyday? Brain Baseline, developed by neuroscientists, takes novel, game-based versions of standard neuropsychological tests right to the iPad or iPhone. It’s a fun way they can track their progress as they work to build better brainpower. While the iPad version is free, the iPhone version is just a dollar or two (still a great bargain and terrific gift to boot).

Bonus! A Brain Fitness Gift that Keeps on Giving.

Finally, why not give them the chance to keep on top of their brain fitness? Sign them up for our Total Brain Health Newsletter! They’ll get a great resource full of science updates, tips for getting brain healthy, as well as other information four times a year — and its free!