Four Simple Activities for Better Brain Health

August 9, 2022
hobbies and activities for seniors

There is no doubt that the brain is the most complex organ in the body. Our brains are responsible for regulating multiple bodily functions, interpreting sensory input and processing our emotions. Memory, intelligence, and creativity are also housed in our brains. Yet, despite the brain getting plenty of exercise every day, only specific activities are known to help boost brain function and connectivity. Studies show that some activities may engage the brain differently, potentially improving concentration, memory, and creativity. By engaging regularly in these certain activities you may help protect the brain from age-related degeneration.

1. Move Your Body to Help Your Mind

While we’re presenting you with tips on different strategies and games that exercise the brain and promote brain health, it’s worth noting that there are many cognitive benefits of physical exercise as well. Some studies have concluded that certain types of exercise are the most beneficial, while others have found that almost any physical activity is effective at helping maintain a healthy brain.

Exercise can reduce your dementia risk as well. One study concluded that markers of cognitive decline reduced for adults who engaged in regular physical activity, concluding that A person with cognitive decline has a 50% increased risk of having functional limitations when their level of physical activity declines. Aim for 30 minutes of moderate activity, 5 days a week (or 150 minutes weekly). 

2. Complete a Jigsaw Puzzle 

Whether you’re putting together a 1,000-piece image of the Eiffel Tower or joining 100 pieces to make Mickey Mouse, working on a jigsaw puzzle is an excellent way to strengthen your brain. Studies have found that jigsaw puzzles activate many cognitive functions, including:

  • perception

  • mental rotation

  • working memory

  • reasoning

3. Play Games 

Number puzzles, such as sudoku, are a great way to challenge the brain and also improve cognitive function. A 2019 study of adults aged between 50 and 93 years found that those who practiced number puzzles more frequently tend to have better cognitive function. 

Many studies have found a link between playing games like chess and decreased risk of cognitive impairment. They lead to improvements in:

  • memory

  • executive functioning, which is the ability to monitor and adapt behavior in order to meet set goals

  • information processing speed

4. Learn a New Skill or Hobby

Developing new skills enhances brain function and engages it in a variety of ways. Learning a new and cognitively demanding skill, such as quilting or photography, boosted older adults’ memory function according to a study published in 2014.

It is important to take care of your brain health in order to improve your concentration, focus, memory, and mental agility no matter what your age. Keeping our brains active throughout our lives can delay some symptoms of Alzheimer’s, with some research demonstrating that engaging in certain brain activities can delay the onset of Alzheimer’s for up to five years! Whatever you choose, brain exercises allow you to challenge your mind, sharpen your cognitive skills, and possibly learn something new and enriching along the way.

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