It’s common sense that you need to work your body up to stay fit. Whether it’s light walking, stretching, or gentle chair exercises, your body’s development can be improved in many ways. However, what many people don’t realize is that brain strength is just as important as muscular strength. In the field of psychology, mental fitness is termed as a combination of brain and emotional wellbeing. Keeping your mind healthy helps you take care of other things in your life with greater ease. Read on to learn about some of the best brain exercises for seniors.
Science Says Brain Exercises Help with Cognitive Function
Don’t just take it from this blog post. The benefits of brain exercises on cognitive function are backed by science. Based on research conducted by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, working on your memory skills leads to an increase in what’s known as “fluid intelligence” – the capacity to debate and to resolve an unusual set of challenges.
According to neurologists, training your brain lights up special receptors known as neurons as well as brain areas that you don’t normally use. When you watch your favorite TV show, you’re not really challenging your brain to think in new ways: there’s no new knowledge to be had from something you already know. This means that, when you interact in new social settings, certain parts of your brain that are required for conversation may be slow to respond. Furthermore, your memory of events might become limited. You might even experience ‘brain fog’, which is best described as a slowdown of your mental train of thought.
Types of Brain Exercises
Make it a point to do one or more of these things at least once a day to keep your brain feeling rejuvenated:
- Read a book
Pick up a fiction book to escape to far-flung places while imagining what the worlds would look like visually, or select a non-fiction book to learn about a variety of topics you’ve always wanted to learn more about. You can also choose to read any book in large print if that is your preference.
- Play an instrument
Whether you adore the drums or have never picked up a musical instrument before, playing an instrument helps you use the creative part of your brain in any situation.
- Learn a language
This stimulates the brain by causing it to concentrate and focus on listening. It also helps you improve your vocabulary both in the language you’re proficient in and the one you’re learning.
- Do a puzzle
Doing a crossword puzzle will engage your brain, expand your vocabulary, and help you use regions of your mind that you don’t often use in everyday life. Alternatively, try solving a 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle for a different kind of challenge. Regardless of the type of puzzle you try, your brain will thank you for it.
Exercise Your Brain Regularly
It’s important to vary the type of thinking you do in order to exercise both parts of your brain. At Discovery Village At Stuart, we are pleased to offer the SHINE® Memory Care curriculum – an award-winning program with a special focus on mental fitness. Our senior living professionals help keep your brain challenged with an evolving array of activities. Find out more today!