As we age, it is important to maintain our health, and mental exercise is as much a part of healthy aging as physical exercise. Regular mental exercise may help reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and other cognitive disorders by stimulating the growth of brain cells and strengthening the connections among existing brain cells.
There are numerous activities that can help to keep the mind sharp and your brain active that may also be enjoyable. Simply remaining social keeps you active and helps stimulate the brain. Other activities that help exercise your brain include:
- Doing crossword puzzles
- Playing board games
- Playing bridge
- Completing jigsaw puzzles
- Visiting museums
- Taking classes
- Learning a new language
- Learning to play a musical instrument
- Reading something new and different
- Learning to dance
It is important to add variations, change activities and increase mental challenges over time to keep the mind agile. As you become comfortable and skillful, try out other activities to keep things new and challenging. Variation of mental activities makes the brain work harder and increases overall brain health.
In addition to specific mental exercises, physical exercise can have an impact on brain health as well. Walking for only 30 minutes daily can help improve cardiovascular fitness that can lessen the chances of dementia. Strength training at least once a week can help keep your brain sharp and increase mental focus. Before beginning any exercise regimen it is best to speak with your doctor.
For more information on how to safely remain active as you age, please call our Information and Assistance Team at (408)350-3200, option 1.