8 Activities to Help You Stay Mentally Sharp
Posted on December 07, 2016
We’ve all had our fair share of memory loss moments. Maybe
you accidentally left your cellphone in the fridge for a few hours. Or perhaps you
called out your dog’s name when you meant to say your grandchild’s. These
little mistakes tend to happen as your mind ages.
Think of your brain as a muscle in your body. You have
to use it often to keep it healthy and strong. It is easy to become apathetic
and less energized as you age. That is why it is important to stay diligent
about engaging in healthy activities.
Certain activities are more likely to increase brain
function than others. For example, activities that are different and challenging
will encourage your brain to create new connections. These new connections lead
to increased cognitive function. Take a look at our suggestions for activities
which not only help brain function, but lend to a happier and
Enjoy Puzzles and Games
Keep the mind active by doing puzzles and playing games.
Try doing crosswords, Sudoku, or card and board games to stimulate your brain. These
types of activities are great for testing your memory and attention span. They
require you to recognize patterns, which is extremely beneficial for slowing the
progression of cognitive decline. Not only are these games great for your
memory, but they are also a fun way to bond with others.
Eat a Healthy Diet
Sticking to a healthy diet may help ward off dementia
and boost brain energy and function. Eat a diet high in vegetables, nuts, fish,
beans, whole grains, fruits and some meats. Recipes such as Cauliflower and Root Vegetable Purée or Spinach and Feta Frittata are
tasty, healthy options.
Seniors should avoid unhealthy diets that negatively
impact the brain. Diets high in fat, sugar, and salt are associated with
cognitive decline. Studies show that obesity, high cholesterol, and high blood
pressure may increase the risk of dementia. It’s not too late to change
your diet for the better. Keeping a healthy diet will improve your overall
Avoid Excessive Drinking or Smoking
Long term drinking damages your brain’s frontal lobe,
which is hurting the area where all major cognitive skills take place. Long
term smoking thins the brains cortex which processes memory and thinking. Avoid
excessive drinking and smoking. Stopping will help your brain stay mentally
sharp in the long run.
Being in a state of constant stress will impact
the brain negatively. Try these tricks to help reduce the stress in your life
so you can increase brain function.
- Try yoga, meditation and deep breathing.
These are calming exercises that slow your heart rate.
- Cuddle your pet—it is scientifically
proven that pets reduce stress.
- Limit the tasks that you take on to limit
your worries. You will be less stressed when you have fewer tasks to focus on.
Recent studies suggest that 45 minutes of exercise
helps the brain by increasing its volume. This increase in volume leads to
improved brain performance. Not only is exercise good for the brain but it also
increases coordination and muscle development. There are many exercises seniors
can take part in. Exercises like Tai-Chi or weightlifting are
all beneficial to a senior’s body and mind. Choose whatever exercise you enjoy
Stay Socially Active
Social engagement is shown to lead
to significant delay in the onset on dementia. Yet, social isolation is an
increased risk with age. Many seniors no longer have driver’s licenses which
make it difficult for them to get around and be social.
There are many ways you can stay socially active as
you age. Visit friends and family to catch up. Take a walk with a neighbor. Check
out the local community center. There are many clubs and events to join at the
local senior center.
Getting involved in your community is a great way to
stimulate your brain. Volunteering gives you a feeling of purpose or of contributing
to a greater cause. Volunteer at a local animal shelter, charity thrift store,
or soup kitchen. Staying engaged gives you more satisfaction and joy in life. Plus,
volunteering has the added benefit of keeping you socially active.
Keep a Journal
Documenting your life is a great way to keep your
brain processes active. Recent studies show that writing helps areas of the
brain that involve thinking, language and memory.
There are many different ways to keep a journal. You
can write down your memories like a memoir or just keep a list of daily
activities. Keeping a journal allows you to document aspects of your life that
you may forget about as you age.
Improve Your Mind and Life
Our minds change just as our bodies do when we age. That
means we should take proper care of our thinking caps. These small
changes to your lifestyle have great benefits for the mind. Make a
habit of applying one small change a day to make you feel sharper than ever