Brain exercises do for your mind what physical exercises do for your body -- they keep you functioning at your best.
If brain exercises are that important - why doesn’t everyone, especially seniors, make continued efforts to keep one’s brain in the best condition possible? Good question.
You see, as we grow older we tend to neglect our brain health - and our body’s - using excuses such as “I’m too old for this” or “It’s too late.”
I am here - with the help of SeniorHealthSuccess - to change that mentality.
You and I are seniors. Time is running. If we want to assure ourselves of a healthy, independent, fulfilling and long life, we must do that which is necessary. No more excuses…
In the following article I’ll give you many reasons, as well as many means, to exercise your brain.
Research shows it again and again --
You have to stay mentally engaged.
“Use it or lose it” is particularly true when it comes to brain health.
The best thing you can - and must - do to keep your brain healthy is to feed it a truly healthy diet, such as a plant-based diet, and commit to regular physical exercise.
Not that you needed an extra reason to do physical exercise, but…
Actually, when you exercise your body, you also exercise your brain.
You could, for example, try to walk backward while out for your daily walking routine or your morning jog. Reversing direction will give your brain a different challenge. Just be safe when you do that.
Brain exercises should be activities that are not part of your normal routine.
To develop new brain pathways (neural connections), they should be unfamiliar, challenging and outside your zone of comfort.
Most importantly - they should be fun.
I already emphasized the “fun” part on my pages about fitness and exercise for seniors. But it bears repeating…
Make your brain exercises an enjoyable and pleasurable activity. This way you’ll stay interested and engaged - and the health benefits will accumulate.
To keep your brain sharp, you can…
Maintain an active social network of family and friends. Lots of studies show that keeping your life full of friends and fun comes with cognitive benefits.
Recent studies have it that practically anything that keeps your thinking, memory and attention skills active will be helpful in forestalling dementia.
Lapses in memory and other mental functions, known as mild cognitive impairment, affect up to 20 percent of seniors over 70 - but will interfere with their daily life very little. About 10 percent of these will go on to develop dementia.
Dementia is a serious impairment that will affect the older adults’ independence and functional abilities more dramatically.
On to more good news… Studies also show that within just a few weeks of brain training seniors can see noticeable improvements in their skills.
Improvement in processing speed, memory, attention, language skills, logic and reasoning -- all these serve you very well in senior life.
Go ahead, try putting on your clothes in the dark, then brushing your teeth holding the brush in the other hand. Change your routines.
Give your living room a different look by moving furniture around - or reorganize your desk. It’s a small challenge to get used to the new environment.
Then try to explain all these changes to your spouse or partner. It’s known as practicing your reasoning skills…
I’m having fun with this. Which is good for the brain, too.
Let’s not forget the proven mental health benefits of meditation.
Meditation increases mental sharpness and improves memory by encouraging neural connections. It helps with focus, concentration, learning and reasoning.
Above all, though, keep your body and brain in optimal health. As I said before -- nutrition and exercise are key.
If brain exercises, along with a healthy diet and physical activity, aren’t enough to convince you to do what saves your wits, maybe this will…
What will predict dementia better than cognitive tests?
A test for heart disease…
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