Building Mental Muscle as You AgeConditions & Diagnosis, Exercise & Fitness, Nutrition | January 14, 2016
You already know that living a healthy lifestyle has positive physical effects on our bodies. By eating a well-balanced diet that is low in fat and cholesterol along with adding daily exercise into our routines, we keep our bones strong and our bodies lean and balanced. However, did you know mental exercise is just as important as physical exercise to help improve your brain’s capabilities?
Just like our bodies, as we age our brains can begin to slow down and lose some of its cognitive function, or its “muscle”. Neuroplasticity is the term that is used to define the way our brains change throughout the course of our lives. It refers to the brain’s ability to reorganize itself by forming new neural connections through our lifetime; how neurons, or nerve cells, in the brain are able to compensate for injury or disease and adapt to changes in their environment. This is why it’s essential that we keep our brains strong by doing a “workout” through brain games for memory and other mental exercises.
The Benefits of Memory Games for Seniors
Recent studies were conducted that show how an active brain can lead to less of a decline in cognitive abilities. One study in particular involved more than 2,800 adults aged 65 and older who participated in up to ten brain training classes for six weeks. The classes focused on the memory, reasoning and speed at which they processed information. They found that the seniors involved in the training classes showed significant improvement in all areas- and the improvement lasted for at least five years! The brain training classes also made daily tasks like managing the household budget and completing chores easier.
Brain games for seniors don’t even have to be actual “games” at all. While playing card games or board games are a great way to help improve your memory, there are other things you can do to test your brain and keep those neurons working properly. You can pick up a new hobby, like learning a musical instrument or trying your hand at painting or knitting, for example. Writing down and trying to memorize lists is also a great memory game for seniors; let an hour or two go by and see if you can recall the entire list.
You’ll start to notice the benefits of these brain games pretty quickly, which include:
- Sharper concentration.
- An increase in your short-term memory.
- Greater creativity.
- A boost to your brain’s overall functioning.
- Enhanced focus.
- Better problem-solving skills.
Remember, our brains are constantly at work for us as they process information, help us form new ideas and allow us to continue to learn something new with each passing day. Just as we stay active physically to keep the muscles in our bodies limber and strong, exercising our brains can only keep our minds active and healthy, too.
For more information about American Senior Communities, please visit www.ASCSeniorCare.com.