health

How healthy is your brain? Stand on one foot to find out.

Okay. Stop whatever you’re doing, stand up and clear a small space.

Now stand on one leg, “flamingo” style, with your eyes open.

Finally, count how long you can keep your balance like this for.

how healthy is your brain
Balance on one leg with your eyes open.

How long did you last? Because if was less than 20 seconds, the news might not be all that great.

According to this article in The Independent, researchers from the University of Tokyo challenged more than 1300 men and women with an average age of 67 to stand on one leg with their eyes open.

Those who couldn't do it for more than 20 seconds fared the worst on tests assessing cognitive function. The test could also determine how susceptible you are to suffering a stroke.

These people were also more likely to have cerebral small vessel disease, a condition where tiny blood vessels deep in the brain are damaged. What's even scarier: participants didn't show any cognitive symptoms or problems before they were tested.

Study lead Yasuharu Tabara concluded that “one-leg standing time is a simple measure of postural instability and might be a consequence of the presence of brain abnormalities.”

NOW ... after possibly scaring the bejesus out of you (or possibly saving your life),  let's test out your brain in a different way to see if you're left or right-brained.

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The test has gone viral and been shared millions of times and works on a simple premise: Do you see the dancer turning clockwise or anti-clockwise?

how healthy is your brain

If  you see the dancer dancing clockwise, then you use more of the right side, if she is dancing anti-clockwise, your left side is more dominant.

So what does it mean to be left or right brained?

brain functions

Does this ring true for you? You will always be using both sides of your brain, but you'll favour one side more. Although it’s almost impossible to see her spinning both ways, it can happen - but is usually achieved by focusing or when something unexpectedly alters your perception.

The best thing we can do for our brains is use and challenge them constantly. We've found some great, not-for-profit organisations that provide fun and easy brain training puzzles, games and tests for you to check out:

Brain HQ

Your Brain Matters

Brain Gym Australia

Alzheimer's Australia

Brain Research Institute, Melbourne

How did you go with these easy brain function tests? Leave your results in the comments below...

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