There is no stopping getting older, but there are ways to boost physical and mental health through body and brain exercises for seniors. Research has been stating for many years that staying active can help the transition to the elderly years. This is quite true, as there are various things seniors can do to keep in tip-top shape physically. In addition, exercising the brain is equally as important as keeping the body in shape.
The brain helps us get through our day-to-day activities. But as we age, our mental capacity begins to diminish little by little. For some, this will impact them in small ways, such as forgetfulness. Others may struggle with more serious conditions, such as Alzheimer’s or dementia.
Fortunately, recent studies have shown that the brain is continually able to learn and adapt by creating new neural pathways. Exercises that help promote neuroplasticity can help seniors maintain mental vibrancy.
In this post, we’re going to explore five of the best brain exercises for seniors to improve their mental health.
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1. Arts and Crafts
Arts and crafts are part and parcel of the curriculum for children because they improve their creative imagination and dexterity. These activities are perfect brain activities for seniors too because it helps them keep their minds and creativity active. As they create various arts or crafts, they are forced to actively use their mind and stay focus. In addition, at a time where their hands can become shaky, arts and crafts can help improve nimbleness.
Earlier forms of chess originated in India in the 6th century AD, and ever since, it has been dubbed one of the most sophisticated games ever created. However, it’s not so complex that it’s impossible to learn how to play. In fact, many seniors learned how to play chess as a child, but perhaps it’s been a while since they played. All they may need is a refresher on how to play.
Chess is all about out-of-the-box thinking, as players look for innovative ways to outmaneuver their opponent. By playing this game, seniors are forced to keep track of their pieces, plan their next moves, and also anticipate the reaction of their opponent. This helps to improve their concentration level, boost memory, use cognitive skills, and offer friendly competition.
3. Reading Fiction and Retelling
Reading is known to boost cognitive skills. As an immersive activity, it helps to take the reader into the writer’s world, keeping them fully engaged. Reading is a great brain exercise for seniors.
While reading, keeping track of new vocabularies can also help stimulate the brain. As they read, they should take note of words they don’t know or have forgotten, learn their meanings, and try to use them in their daily interactions.
Finally, retelling the story to others helps to boost their memory. It is also a great social activity for them to engage in.
4. Playing Video Games
Video games aren’t just for the youth. There are plenty of helpful video games that can help seniors boost their mental health. As a brain exercise, they must first learn how to play the game. Then, as they practice playing, they forge new neural pathways in the brain. This increased activity in the brain helps keep their minds sharp, sort of like how physical exercise keeps the body strong.
Moreover, video games require quick thinking and fast use of the fingers. Therefore, video games can help enhance alertness and improve coordination between the hands and brain.
5. Learning a New Language
Learning a new language is a helpful endeavor to aging seniors. It helps to boost brain power, improve memory, sharpen the mind, and even enhances the ability to multi-task. Fortunately, there are a plethora of resources available, from online classes to audiobooks
Learning with friends is also a great way to enhance sociability in the elderly. This way, you can practice with each other regularly. For this super-powered brain activity for seniors, simply begin by learning a few basic words and phrases and start using them daily.
Frequently Asked Questions
Many questions arise when discussing issues regarding the best brain exercises for seniors. We have taken the liberty to address some of them to give you a better insight:
✅How To Stimulate The Elderly Brain?
The way to simulate the brain of someone who is elderly is by allowing them to engage in activities that will help create new neural pathways. Some suggestions include:
- Practicing using their memory.
- Playing games that involve thinking. Examples include puzzles, Sudoku, Scrabble, among others.
- Cultivating a new hobby or learning something new.
- Engaging in social interactions. Seniors that engage in stimulating conversations are less likely to develop depression and dementia.
- Maintaining physical fitness and adopting a healthy diet. Making such lifestyle changes have a greater positive impact on mental health than some medications.
- Keeping stress under control through meditation and exercise.
✅How Do Seniors Stay Mentally Active?
The only way seniors can stay mentally active is by engaging in brain-boosting activities and adopting mental health proactive lifestyles. Some tips to keep in mind include:
- Minimizing alcohol intake.
- Ensuring cardiovascular health by having healthy blood sugar, cholesterol levels, and blood pressure, along with exercising regularly.
- Engaging in brain exercises for seniors.
As the adage goes, “Use it or lose it”. Ultimately, it boils down to being consistent with whatever routine they’re adopting, whether it is learning a new language, doing brain teasers, or cultivating a new hobby.
✅What Exercises Should Seniors Avoid?
It’s important seniors stay physically and mentally fit whether they live at home or in long-term senior care. Light aerobics, yoga, brisk walking, and Pilates are examples of exercises well suited for seniors.
However, here are some exercises that should be avoided by people over the age of 65:
- Bench press
- Squats with dumbbells or weights
- Upright row
- Rock climbing
- Long-endurance running
- High-intensity workouts
Try not to underestimate just how helpful brain exercises for seniors can be. Take these tips into consideration and implement them regularly.
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Kate is a health & lifestyle blogger who spends her entire day writing quality blogs. She is a passionate reader and loves to share quality content prevalent on the web with her friends and followers and keeping a keen eye on the latest trends and news in those industries.