Top 10 Activities to Boost Brain Health for Seniors
When it comes to healthy aging, flexing the muscles in your mind is just as essential as staying physically active.
While you can’t change your age, genetics or family history, you can focus on ways to improve brain health. Incorporating brain exercises into your everyday life challenges the mind, boosts concentration and memory, sharpens cognitive skills and makes everyday tasks easier.
There isn’t a universally recognized definition of optimal brain health for seniors. However, the CDC defines it as an “ability to perform all the mental processes of cognition, including the ability to learn and judge, use language and remember.”
10 ways to improve brain health for seniors
The Retirement Center Management (RCM) team has compiled a list from the Centers for Disease Control, Alzheimer’s Association, Harvard Health Publishing, Healthline and The BMJ of 10 ways to improve brain health. These brain exercises help reduce your risk of cognitive decline and dementia, increase processing speed and memory, and improve creative brainpower.
- Head back to school and hit the books. Take an in-person or online class on a topic that interests you – from astrology to zoology.
- Shuffle the deck and put the pieces together. Try your hand at card games like bridge, gin rummy, hearts and crazy eights. Complete a 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle of a breathtaking mountain landscape.
- Build your vocabulary. Impress your friends and loved ones by learning a new word each day or tackling a whole other language.
- Crank the tunes. Listen and sing along to feel-good music, join a choir or start playing a musical instrument.
- Cut a rug. Practice your ballroom dance moves or explore new ones in person or by watching online videos – from salsa and jazz to hip hop and line dancing.
- Lend a hand. Volunteer at a local animal shelter or food pantry, knit blankets for the homeless or mentor a budding entrepreneur.
- Take a walk on the artistic side. Throw pottery, turn wood, paint a canvas, or try your hand at journaling or poetry.
- Learn a skill. Perfect your tennis backhand, golf swing and virtual bowling stance. Build a piece of furniture or create a community garden.
- Mix it up. Try a new cuisine or recipe, take a new shopping route. or test out a new mode of transportation such as riding a bike.
- Enjoy the silence. Find a quiet spot, close your eyes, focus on your breathing and meditate to calm your body.
Other recommendations to maintain a healthy body and brain
In addition to the 10 ways to improve brain health listed above, adopting other healthy behaviors can help reduce your risk for cognitive decline and prevent heart disease and some kinds of cancer and diabetes.
- Break a sweat. Elevate your heart rate, increase blood flow, and keep moving with walking, swimming, stretching, strength and balance training, and stretching.
- Kick butt. Stop smoking to reduce your risk of Alzheimer's and other dementias.
- Stay safe. Wear a seatbelt, use a bike helmet, and take steps to prevent falls.
- Fuel up. Eat a balanced diet high in antioxidants, fruits and veggies, along with healthy fats such as olive oil and nuts.
- Catch zzz’s. Stay well-rested and get an adequate amount of sleep.
- Step on the scale. Stay physically active and maintain a lifestyle that supports a healthy weight.
- Take care of levels. Maintain healthy blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
- Manage stress. Seek treatment for depression, anxiety or other mental health concerns.
Stimulate your mind, body and soul
Explore Retirement Center Management’s independent, assisted and memory care living options. Each RCM community offers ways to improve brain health through ever-changing social calendars packed with activities and events.
Whether it’s group excursions, religious programs, cultural events or entertainment outings, everything is designed to strengthen your mind, body and soul. Schedule your personal visit by contacting us, or call us at 281-816-6953.