As we get older, we’re encouraged to do lots of things to keep our bodies in good shape. Exercise and diet tips abound. So, we do our stretches, we walk, we ride our bikes, and we learn how to eat a balanced diet, all in an effort to stay in tip top condition. While we’re doing all that stuff, we kind of forget to keep the most important part of ourselves healthy; our minds! How do you exercise your mind? There are lots of ways to do it. Some of the things we spend our whole lives doing for fun can actually help strengthen cognitive abilities for the elderly. Choosing one of the mental activities for seniors from the list below can help ensure that your mind stays sharp as you age.
Do Crossword Puzzles
A favorite activity of many, doing crossword puzzles stimulates the brain and increases your word power. Pick up a book of crossword puzzles to do while you’re waiting in your doctor’s office or riding the train home from work. It’s a great pastime and it helps to keep your mind sharp!
Read a Book
If you’re amongst those of us who fondly recollect the joy of learning how to read and discovering a whole new world, picking up a book can be more than just fun, it can help stimulate your brain. So dive in to refresh your memory and rack up vocabulary points while you’re at it. Take a walk to your local library and pick up the latest novel from your favorite author to read in bed at night. If you prefer to read on your e-reader or iPad, there are scores of books available in digital form from sites like Amazon.com or Google Books. Remember, reading is fundamental!
Do the Math
The next time you have some numbers to crunch, do it in your head instead of reaching for the calculator. Performing simple math functions can give you a brain boost and keep your numbers skills on point! If you’ve always wondered why you needed to learn all that math in school, you may never know, but adding, subtracting, dividing, and multiplying things is one good way to get a healthy brain.
Play an Instrument
Studies show that learning to play an instrument helps to improve your memory and increase your brainpower and is a one the best mental activities for seniors. Spending time learning to do something new is good for the mind. It takes a lot of concentration to learn intensive things like this and it pays off!
Play Memory Recall Games
As a memory exercise, write a random list of things on a piece of paper. Fold the paper up and put it in your pocket. Now, try to remember what was on the list. Don’t write down easy things. Challenge yourself. Doing exercises like this will sharpen your memory considerably. Want to play some games online? There are plenty of resources available that offer free memory recall games.
Learn How to Cook
Cooking is not only a popular pastime, it serves a greater purpose. When you cook, you use all of your senses and that is beneficial to the mind. Cooking stimulates several parts of the brain resulting in overall brain health. Treat your family to a home-cooked meal tonight!
Take up a foreign language like Spanish to give your brain a workout. Learning a foreign language requires the use of hearing and listening which helps to strengthen the brain. While it is rewarding to learn a new tongue, it increases your vocabulary exponentially. Try out one of the new computer software based language learning devices. There are often free resources from your local library and sites like duolingo.com.
Knit a Scarf
When you learn to do something that requires a lot of hand-eye coordination, like knitting, sketching, or painting, it improves your fine motor skills. Not only will you develop a new talent but you’ll have scarves and art to show for it which you can gift your friends with.
Following these few simple tips will contribute to a healthy brain to serve you well into your golden years. Now, get out there and have some fun with your new pastime!