How to Keep your Brain Healthy with Mental Gymnastics

Woman thinking

Aside from regular exercise and healthy eating, you could give your brain the workout it needs, without spending a tone of money. While you might be tempted to buy expensive brain training software, studies suggest that these programs don’t offer older adults substantial neurological benefits. That being said, experts recommend training your brain using real world, daily activities.

The Importance of Exercising Your Brain

Regular exercise and proper nutrition can help you stay fit, but it can boost vascular health to aid in protecting brain tissue more effectively. Avoiding boredom and ruts is likewise crucial. Your brain is designed to learn things so when it’s passive or not stimulated regularly, it will atrophy or waste away. Fortunately, just as strength training can give your muscles and help your body retain muscle when you’re older, maintaining a healthy lifestyle and exercising your brain will help you boost your brain’s cognitive ability.

Best Exercises for Brain Health

Woman using laptop

The newspaper is an excellent place to start—word games, Sudoku, and even comic strips where you need to process words and images that differ from one box to the next, suggests an experienced senior living and memory care specialist in Kaysville. Additionally, these exercises can help boost your mental skills:

  • Total Recall: Create a list of everything you need to do for the day—launder clothes, go to the grocery, etc.—and then memorize it. After about an hour, check how many items on your list you can remember.
  • Crunch The Numbers: Try to solve math problems in your head without using your smartphone’s calculator or a pen and paper. If you’re up for a bigger challenge, do this while you’re buying groceries and adding up the price of each item as you go.
  • Get into Music: Join a local choir or learn to play an instrument. Studies indicate that learning new and complex things is beneficial for brain health.
  • Learn to Speak a Different Language: The hearing, listening, and recalling involved in learning a new language will help better stimulate your brain.
  • Be a Masterchef: Join a cooking or baking class. These activities will require the use of all your senses that involve the use of many different parts of your brain.
  • Map it Out: After visiting a place you’ve never been to, try to draw a map of it. Do this exercise every time you visit a new place.
  • Be The Next Tiger Woods: Or the next Steffi Graf if you like. Any sport that uses both the body and mind like tennis, golf, and even yoga will help boost brain health.
  • Improve your Hand-Eye Coordination: Consider taking up a hobby that will hone your fine-motor skills like drawing, knitting, painting, and the like.
  • Give your Taste Buds a Treat and a Challenge: Every time you eat, try to guess all the ingredients in your food, including all the subtle spices and herbs.

Ultimately, just as you can reduce your risk of developing heart disease as you grow older by making specific lifestyle changes, you can also take these simple steps to help keep your brain healthy for longer.