As you age, the ability of your brain to recall and process information will inevitably decline. However, like any other muscle in your body, your brain can be trained and strengthened. Brain plasticity allows our brain to change its response to intrinsic or extrinsic stimuli by changing its structure, connections, or functions. While age-related cognitive decline is unavoidable, it is possible to slow the rate of deterioration with these three senior activity ideas. Before we train the brain, we must ensure that we take care of our health and fitness by eating well and having enough mental and physical exercise. Here are some activities that stimulate your brain.
Pick Up a New Hobby Or Skill
Over time, our brain develops consistent neural pathways that help us to remember things quickly, perform familiar tasks efficiently and solve similar problems easily. Habit and routine have their purpose; however, new neural pathways need to be built to stimulate and expand the brain. Picking up a new hobby or skill is an excellent way to create those new pathways and stimulate your brain. Find something that you have never done before, which is rewarding and a little bit challenging. You may consider the following activities:
- Learning a new dance
- Learning to make music
- Learning a new language
- Learning to draw or paint
- Learning to use technology or a new device in photography
Play Some Games
Playing games with your friends is not only fun, but it also keeps your mind sharp and clear. Brain games strengthen functions such as focus, memory, flexibility, and processing speed. Games like crossword puzzles and sudoku work on your focus, memory, pattern recognition, problem-solving, and critical thinking skills. Since they are available in newspapers, books, or mobile apps, it is easy to start doing them. Suppose you or your loved one lives in a retirement community like TerraBella Greenville. In that case, you can grab a couple of friends and head to the games room for an afternoon of card games or trivia games. Some popular card games include Bridge, Solitaire, and Rummy. Playing card games don’t just keep your brain active; it also promotes social interaction and positive emotions. It can also aid in preventing Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.
Practice Mindfulness and Meditation
Mindfulness is to be fully present in the moment, without judgment. It is paying attention to what is happening and being aware of our feelings, thoughts, bodily sensations, and even the surrounding environment. Taking a mindful walk in nature is an excellent way to practice mindfulness. Besides breathing fresh air and exercising, it also relieves stress. Chronic stress damages the part of our brain responsible for learning and memories. So, by relaxing more into the flow of life, we are doing our brain some good.
Take it a step further with mindfulness meditation. The only thing to do in this meditation is to focus on the breath. Meditation brings numerous benefits such as improved focus, memory, reasoning, and creativity. Research also shows positive effects on conditions such as anxiety, depression, chronic pain, and high blood pressure. Consistent meditation practice is linked to increased feelings of joy and serenity.