Staying fit means more than just exercising and eating right. As we age, many of us also start to lose some of our brain power. Inactivity – both physical and mental — can limit our social interactions and decrease our experiences, which may accelerate cognitive decline. That is why it is important to stay physically, socially and mentally active. Brain health plays a crucial role in a person’s quality of life, and there are numerous brain exercises that have been scientifically proven to strengthen your brain. To help inspire your own brain health routine, try some of these brain exercises that might help to keep your brain fit:
Whether you are working from a crossword book or the puzzle from the daily newspaper, many enjoy a daily crossword puzzle — and it’s true that this favored pastime is also a great way to keep your brain healthy and active. Critical thinking, active recall, and language skills all contribute to an active and healthy brain.
Learning a foreign language
How about learning a new language? Even if it’s just a few basic words and phrases, this exercise activates parts of your brain that are central to maintaining health and cognition. It is also a great social activity to do with friends and family members of all ages.
Memory cards or board games
The classic card game of “Memory,” pairing cards with identical words and images, relies on focus, recognition of details, spatial memory, and using sound judgment. But there are also board games that are fun to play for all ages.
Practicing a musical instrument
Sometimes the words of a song are easy to recall, but did you know that picking up an instrument for the first time, or even practicing if you’re a lifelong musician has great benefits to brain health? Activating spatial skills and recall, practicing a musical instrument can be a great activity to enrich your life and keep you healthy.
Since Sudoku books are seemingly everywhere, it’s easy to access this familiar numbers game with easy-to-follow rules that rely on pattern recognition and simple math.
There is a reason so many people enjoy jigsaw puzzles, and exercising your brain is one you might not be aware of. The classic jigsaw puzzle utilizes spatial skills, fine motor skills, visual recognition, creativity and concentration.
Another classic hobby that has huge benefits for the brain is any kind of activity that requires assembly — whether it’s putting together a model ship, a paint-by-numbers, or building Legos with a grandchild. Building something can help keep your brain healthy by exercising fine motor skills, creative expression and the use of step-by-step sequences.
A chance to be social
Mixing and mingling with others has numerous benefits. Learning new things, and meeting new people can help your brain by practicing concentration, following a conversation and just having a good time.
Following instructions is one way to help with your short-term memory and activate spatial and concentration skills. By reading or hearing instructions and following through on those instructions, you will improve your mental fitness —examples could be a crafts project or even a Jazzercise class.
Current events discussion
What is going on in the world? Participate in a current events discussion with your peers to talk about the news of the day. Organizing facts, understanding ideas and communicating a viewpoint helps boost critical thinking and reasoning skills.
In addition to your physical health, your mental fitness is important to your quality of life and is part of our Aspyre program at The Buckingham. With our numerous clubs and enrichment programming, good brain health is integrated into daily life for our residents. To learn more about Aspyre and what else The Buckingham has to offer, call us at 713-730-2633.