More Ways to Improve Brain Health Throughout the Aging Process
We recently discussed ways to improve brain health by focusing on factors such as exercise, sleep, diet, and a quality supplement that provides more than a single nutrient such as Dead Sea Moringa.
If you want to read part 1 of How to Improve Brain Health go here!
In addition to focusing on the physical factors that can preserve and improve brain health, it is important to think about the mental factors. You might have heard the adage, “use it or lose it”—this applies to both physical and mental capacities as you get older.
Check out these tips on improving and maintaining your brain health when you are middle-aged and beyond.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that games are just child’s play! Playing a variety of games and doing different types of puzzles can keep the brain active and healthy. Engage in anything you find fun and that challenges your mind. Here are some ideas:
- Play Sudoku, do crossword puzzles, or do word-find puzzles. You can purchase a book of these types of puzzles for just a few dollars in most grocery stores or discount stores. They are a great way to pass the time while in a waiting room, on an airplane, or in a long line.
- Put together jigsaw puzzles. Jigsaw puzzles can be enjoyed alone, with friends, or even with your grandchildren. Some libraries even have a table set up with a jigsaw puzzle for anyone to work on for a few minutes here or there. With winter approaching, this can be a great way to keep your brain active when the weather is less than cooperative.
- Play board games. Whether you’re playing Monopoly with friends, Risk with your teenage child or grandchild, or Candy Land with your favorite preschooler, playing board games helps you engage with others while focusing on the task at hand.
- Play online games. If you don’t have anyone to play with in person, you can play anything from Scrabble to billiards to poker to bingo online. Give it a try!
- Play solitary mind games. If you find yourself with nothing to occupy your mind, try exercises such as thinking of animals, colors, or foods that begin with each letter of your name. You could also play the classic “I’m going on a trip” game. Start with, “I’m going on a trip, and I’m bringing a ______,” adding an item that begins with the letter A, such as an apple. The next sentence is, “I’m going on a trip, and I’m bringing an apple and a ____, using an item that begins with B. Repeat the entire sentence each time you add an item and see how far you can get through the alphabet without forgetting!
One great way to stimulate your mind and engage with others is to volunteer in your community. This is particularly helpful if you are retired, and you miss the day-to-day interactions that you might have had with coworkers. You could volunteer with your church or with any organization in your community.
The possibilities are nearly endless:
- Walk homeless dogs or cuddle kitties at the animal shelter
- Rock babies in the NICU
- Serve people at a soup kitchen or food pantry
- Knit hats for premature babies
- Give rides to others in your community
- Make phone calls for a political campaign
- Edit the newsletters for a nonprofit organization
- Volunteer with a literacy agency and teach people to read
- And so much more!
Think about the causes that are near and dear to your heart and look for a way to help!
Make Time for Friends
It is important to find time to talk to and spend time with others. Look for ways to meet up with friends and family members throughout your week. You might offer to meet a friend for breakfast or invite someone to your home for board games or coffee.
Invite the neighbors for a barbecue on the next warm-weather holiday or see if a local friend would like to go for a walk with you once or twice per week. Talk about current events, what’s going on in your own lives, or a shared hobby.
Seek Out New Experiences
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that new experiences are only for the young… they’re also for the young at heart, so decide that you are going to try new things. What have you always dreamed of doing? Can you make it happen now?
For example, if you have always wanted to travel, go ahead and book that trip! Seeing new places and experiencing another culture can do wonders for your mental health and also for your brain health.
If you aren’t able to (or aren’t interested in) travel, you might enjoy visiting places in your town that you haven’t been to before. Visit different types of worship services, check out a new restaurant (and order something new), or just go for a walk down a street you haven’t been on before.
At many community colleges, seniors can audit classes for free or for a nominal fee. Have you ever wanted to discover more about world history, learn to speak a foreign language, or delve into what makes people tick by studying sociology or psychology? This might be your chance!
Keeping your brain healthy and active takes not only physical effort but mental effort as well. Consider trying out some of the activities listed above and find yourself boosting your mental processes while also enjoying yourself and having fun!