Just like any other muscle in our body, our brain needs to exercise to stay in shape. And just like physical activity, mental activity is something we tend to avoid, especially later in life, during the retirement years.
“Keep exercising at any age,” doctors tell us. The level of exercise has to fit the physical condition of the person, but every movement has its benefits. When people have been working for many years, challenging their brains on a daily basis and then suddenly stop, the brain tends to go into a destructive mode when connections not used die out and new ones are not born.
Doctors also tell us that exercising our brains is good at any age and is considered to best defense we have, at the moment, against dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.Here are 10 mental exercises for a healthy mind:
- Learn something new. Develop a new skill. Don’t let technology pass you by. One of the things you can learn is how to operate a smartphone or how to work with computers. Another thing to keep your mind sharp is to learn a new language. It might take longer than it did when we were young, but remember – your brain has to build new connections. At this stage of the game it needs to plow the groove over and over again for the groove to stick.
- Solve crossword puzzles. It forces your mind to activate many parts of the brain. This is something that can easily be done on a daily basis.Use math. If you are not a word person and you like numbers, solve a Sudoku or any other math puzzles.
- Play Scrabble or Words with Friends (the online version of the social game). You not only come up with new words and have to search your brain for word combinations; the social aspect of these games will give rewarding benefits as well.
- Reads books that make you think. Subjects that you have never read about before are great. Other culture, philosophy, poetry or a simple detective story, they all keep your mind interested and thinking.
- Go online! There is a wealth of information and new topics to learn about online. There are also many websites that are dedicated to different mental exercises.
- Challenge yourself to memorize a list from time to time.
- Interact with people. Social interaction is another way to stimulate multiple connections in the brain. Play social games like Bridge or Chess.
- Walking and listening to a book is a great mental and physical exercise. You can do them both at the same time and when you’re interested in the book you will pay less attention to the distance you walk.Find humor in things. Find ways to laugh and share laughter. George Burns, Bob Hope, and Betty White – need I say more? Laughter is the best elixir.
Mental exercises for a healthy mind are not only beneficial but also fun to do. And if these activities can prevent, or delay, mental decline, more power to them!