The Benefits of Mental Exercises
As you age, your brain goes through changes, some of which may contribute to dementia. However, mental exercises can counteract or slow down these changes and provide many other benefits throughout your senior years.
Studies show participating in meaningful and enjoyable activities, such as reading, playing challenging games, learning a new language and establishing active hobbies can improve your memory.
Researchers at Stanford found these and similar pursuits improve problems with memory loss 30 to 50 percent. So the next time somebody teases you about your Words With Friends habit, you can tell them it’s part of your brain’s daily “workout.”
The brain was once thought to be static and incapable of creating new connections, but scientists have since discovered it’s quite dynamic and adaptable.
Performing the types of activities shown to reduce memory loss may also strengthen existing connections or generate new ones, especially if you try something adventurous like learning an unfamiliar language.
Stronger connections throughout the brain could have the benefit of allowing your mind to compensate if some parts are affected by illness or slowed by the natural aging process, helping you maintain mental clarity as you age.
Participating in activities to keep your brain functioning well preserves your ability to make decisions and can make you better at planning and strategizing. You may also experience less of a decline in reaction time, reducing your risk of falling or getting into automobile accidents.
The longer you’re able to maintain high mental function, the longer you can stay in your home and enjoy independence.
Studies of the Blue Zones, areas of the world with the largest numbers of centenarians, show having a strong social network is linked with a longer, healthier life. However, seniors often experience isolation, especially if close friends succumb to health problems or are afflicted with conditions like dementia.
Signing up for classes in the community offers opportunities to meet new people and maintain consistent connections. A routine class schedule also ensures your brain keeps getting a regular dose of exercise!
Staying mentally active doesn’t require any special “brain games.” You just have to find activities you like and commit to challenging yourself a little every day. Along with a nutritious diet and a regular exercise regimen, mental activity will help you maintain health and stay sharp as you age.
If you start feeling isolated, or know of a loved one who may be feeling this way, consider hiring a caregiver. A professional caregiver from Caring Home Care can provide companionship while helping around the house with small (or big) tasks. Learn more today!