You’ve heard the phrase ‘use it or lose it,’ and for those of us over 55 we can sometimes feel we’re losing it more often than not. “Where are the keys again?” “Why did I come in here?” But joking aside, there is truth to the statement particularly when it comes to your mind. In fact, another phrase you’re hearing more of lately is ‘brain health’ which is about making the most of your mind and helping to reduce risks to it as you age. We can help you do just that with 5 fun ways to keep your mind sharp as you age.
Why is Brain Health Important?
Before we get to the how in keeping your mind sharp, let’s talk about why it’s important. One of the key reasons is to help ward off health issues such as Alzheimer’s disease which, according to the Alzheimer’s Association, someone in the United States develops every 65 seconds. While a cure hasn’t been found yet, research has shown that the brain does benefit from staying both socially and cognitively active.
Doing something unfamiliar and mentally challenging can give you the most benefit, or as University of Texas scientist Denise Park says, “When you are inside your comfort zone, you may be outside of the enhancement zone.”
5 Fun Ways to Keep Your Mind Sharp When You’re Over 55
- Learn something new – While you may not be in school anymore, that doesn’t mean you should stop learning. Keep your brain stimulated by learning a new skill, new language, new hobby; learn to play an instrument, to paint or even approach a familiar task in a different way.
- Win with brain games – Playing chess or bridge, doing crossword or jigsaw puzzles may seem like it’s all in fun but these types of games are also a great way to enhance memory and the processing speed in your brain.
- Read, read, read – If you’re not one to be found with your nose stuck in a book, it may be time to reconsider. Regular reading helps to strengthen the muscles in your brain; it improves concentration and even helps to reduce stress which can have its own harmful health effects.
- Take a walk – The mind-body connection is powerful as research suggests that parts of the brain that control thinking and memory have greater volume in those who exercise versus those who don’t. And it doesn’t have to be strenuous exercise; the key is that its regular exercise.
- Stay social – We said above that the brain benefits from social and cognitive activity so two birds, one stone? Joining a book club, bridge club, a walking group or taking part in local volunteer opportunities are fun ways to do both at the same time.
Keeping Your Mind Sharp Made Easy
It’s true, achieving all the tips above on your own may be a challenge and it’s one of the big reasons people over 55 are moving to active senior living earlier than ever. Senior living communities today have shifted from a purely clinical focus to one of engagement for the whole person and that includes brain health. That’s why you’ll find monthly calendars filled with clubs, classes, events, fitness and enrichment opportunities for virtually any interest you may have. And it’s all right outside your doorstep, making it easier than ever to ‘use it.’
For more information on how our active senior living communities help you to keep your mind sharp, contact us today to schedule a visit →