Brain Exercises to Improve Memory
As we age, our bodies and minds start to work differently. If you find you’re having a hard time remembering things, or are worried about cognitive issues down the line, there are preventative measures you can take. Taking care of brain health is important, but the good news is you have options and they don’t take a lot of time or effort.
As children, our brains grow rapidly and are very flexible. That’s why kids can learn so fast. Starting around age 25, neural pathways in the brain start to become fixed, which makes learning a little more difficult. As we age, this process continues, which can affect memory and even impact cognitive abilities later in life. Fortunately, we can counteract this process with some simple games and activities to improve mental muscles.
Taking care of brain health is important, but the good news is you have options and they don’t take a lot of time or effort.
Challenging your brain can be as simple as changing your route home when driving, or brushing your teeth with the “other” hand – if you’re right-handed, and use your left and vice versa. Your brain is at the greatest risk of decline if it remains passive. Prolonged sitting or spending too much time watching TV can contribute to cognitive decline.
Exposing the brain to new information and activities helps keep your mind healthy, much the same as staying physically active helps the body. While brain training software has surged in popularity in recent years, there’s little evidence that they have a long-term impact. Instead, doctors recommend real-world activities that require interacting with people, physical materials, and new ideas.
Exposing the brain to new information and activities helps keep your mind healthy, much the same as staying physically active helps the body.
For a quick and fun exercise, try Sudoku or word puzzles. Classic puzzles, knitting, and drawing are all hands-on and work well, too. You can also take a cooking class, or learn a new sport. Activities like cooking involve multiple senses, which helps to create new neural pathways in the brain. Sports that are both mental and physical, like yoga, tennis, and golf, are good for the same reason. Learning a new language, or even just reading and learning new words, can also be great for seniors. Listening and hearing are good for the brain, and studies have shown that having a robust vocabulary prevents cognitive decline.
As a senior, one of the best things you can do for your overall health is to engage in these brain training exercises and promote cognitive health. Hopefully this article will inspire you to try a new activity, or even revisit a favorite pastime you haven’t performed in a while.