Keeping your brain active and busy as a child was a no brainer, but as we age, the idolization of retirement and relaxation leaves little desire for anything remotely close to brain stimulation. However, keeping your mind active could help fight back against memory loss and dementia. In fact, research has shown that your lifestyle has a direct effect on your rate of cognitive decline. Here are three simple ways to get your brain up and running:
1. Learn something new – Break out of your comfort zone and pick up a new skill. Maybe you’ve always wanted to learn how to knit, or you’ve seen the amazing things your grandson can design with Photoshop and want to give it a try. It might be challenging, but research shows that the harder the skill is to learn, the greater positive impact it has on memory. How does this work? Challenging activities strengthen your entire brain network, and maintaining an active brain fights back against cognitive decline.
2. Play games – Games aren’t just for kids, and age doesn’t mean you have to trade in the traditional fun for a boring or time-consuming version. You can keep your brain in shape with games that are fun, free, and easy. Why not give the popular matching game, Mahjong, a try? It improves memory and concentration, and can even be played online for instant fun. The best part? Mahjong can accommodate multiple players, so it is a great way to socialize, make new friends, and stay connected
3. Expand your social circle – Whether via hobby groups, an exercise class, or a lunch out with friends, socialization is one of the many keys to warding off cognitive diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s. While we take for granted, have you ever thought about how much goes into simple speech? The most basic of exchanges requires thought and consideration as to how to respond, stimulating your brain. Furthermore, social networks encourage other healthy behaviors such as group exercise and learning.
So, what are you waiting for? Get your brain up and moving, and enjoy the accompanying benefits!
When we were younger we heard countless times that we needed to travel more, see the world, and enjoy the energy that naturally comes with our youth. However, your desire to explore doesn’t have to stop just because you’ve entered seniorhood. In fact, travel offers both mental and physical benefits.
Travel can do wonders for your mind. Learning a new language, navigating unknown cities, and conversing with people of all backgrounds keeps you active and engaged. Immerse yourself in your destination and take in as much new knowledge as you can.
Keep in mind that travel doesn’t have to involve jetting off to a foreign country. Visiting family and friends you’ve not seen in awhile counts too, and you’ll enjoy the added socialization and reconnection. Loneliness is a common problem among seniors, as they often lack a strong social network. Travel can help to combat the loneliness often associated with depression and promote good mental health. If you’d prefer to explore your hometown, try joining a MeetUp group to make new friends and go on group adventures.
As far as age-related boosts, travel gives you an opportunity to break out of your normal routine, challenging and stimulating your brain. Your mind is kept alert and active, which fosters the creation of new neural pathways that might help prevent natural cognitive decline and refresh your mind. At the very least, you’ll enjoy some stress-free time away and come back with photos and souvenirs to document your mental health travels.
Before you make any sort of travel plans, ensure your safety by checking in with your doctor, updating vaccinations, and making sure you have all your medications (including extra refills) for a successful trip. Once you’ve got the go ahead, the only thing standing in your way is choosing a point on the map and setting off.