- 10 brain training exercises for older adults
The brain, both in a physical, and scientific sense and also in the context of mental health and wellbeing, is our most important possession and asset.
As such, we owe it to ourselves to do everything we can, in our control, to maintain the health of our brain. I just recently had a birthday and I am more than keen to keep my brain and memory active. Fortunately, there are several brain training exercises for older adults to maintain brain health and boost mental acuity. Here are nine that are fun and easy to practice.
10 brain training exercises for older adults
1. Learn how to play chess
You are probably proficient in the game of chess and if so, then you’re already off to a winner and if not, now is the time to learn!
As one of the great brain training exercises for older adults, a game of chess is not only a fantastic way of improving and honing your concentration and focus skills, but also offers the following benefits:
- A way to work on your creative skills
- Help with organization and planning
- Works well in conjunction with therapy
- A way to live and concentrate on and in the moment
- A way to calm yourself down
- Social interaction with others
Easily accessible, you don’t have to be a genius to play chess. These days you can also play it on your computer. But do try and find others to play with as it can be more fun that way.
2. Monitor your memory
It is important to remember that while forgetting why you entered a room once in a while, or leaving your purse at home and only realizing when you are checking out is entirely normal, if this worries you, it could be something more serious. Make an appointment with your doctor.
Prestigious memory care in Aliso Viejo, CA facilities has all the information you need to know regarding a diagnosis, whatever it may be, and will also help you to decide what to do next.
3. Do daily crossword puzzles
The simple act of settling down with the morning newspaper and a steaming cup of hot coffee and filling in the crossword is an amazing way to take time out for yourself and relax, and also to exercise your brain and cognitive functions.
There is a huge range of different types of crosswords, from the traditional to the cryptic and also various levels of difficulty, so even if you have never picked up a crossword book before, get started with the easier ones and work your way up!
Filling in a crossword regularly will also help you to expand your vocabulary and make you more proficient at reading and writing as a result. A win-win among brain training exercises for older adults.
4. Get outside in the garden!
Spending more time outdoors breathing fresh air and moving your body is great for your physical health, besides being a brilliant way of looking after your brain.
Sunshine is a good source of Vitamin D, the hormone that regulates calcium in different organs including the brain. Recent research states that vitamin D could be responsible, in part, for staving off cognitive decline.
Gardening, whether it is part of a community allotment or in the privacy and tranquility of your own backyard, is an excellent way to maintain strong levels of physical and mental health.
5. Practice using your non-dominant hand
This brain training exercise is fun, keeps your brain sharp, and also strengthens your non-dominant hand. So if you are right-handed, use your left hand to do tasks you normally do with your right hand. If you are left-handed, use your right hand to do routine tasks for which you use your left hand.
For example, these can be brushing your teeth, brushing your hair, eating, etc. This will build new connections with your brain cells while making your non-dominant hand stronger. Make it more fun by practicing with a partner or other family members.
6. Make memory lists
It is natural to fear losing memory as one ages. But that does not have to be the case. This easy brain training exercise to test your memory skills can help with that.
It is as simple as making a list. This could be a grocery list, a list of movies you enjoyed, a list of books you want to read, a list of friends you want to meet, and so on. Now memorize your list. After an hour or a couple of hours, how many items can you recall? Make the list challenging and give your brain a good workout.
7. Enjoy jigsaw puzzles
My mother loved jigsaw puzzles and it certainly helped that my son, her grandson enjoyed doing them with her. Jigsaw puzzles rank among the most fun and classic brain training games and are easily accessible. They are available in many levels of complexity to exercise the mind and involve the use of strategy and problem-solving skills to bring all the pieces together.
8. Try Counting Backwards
Among enjoyable brain training exercises for older adults is counting backward. No need to be a math genius to do this. As long as you know to count and do basic subtraction, you can have fun with your family with this exercise.
Start by counting backward from 100. Then, increase the difficulty by counting backward subtracting 5 from every number. So that is 100, 95, 90, and so on. Next, subtract 3. Or 4. Enjoy!
Writing is a great brain training exercise. You can choose to journal and make it a daily routine. Write about your experiences. Remember events from your past. Perhaps you can write a memoir as a keepsake for your family that they will treasure and pass down the generations. How about short stories from your childhood? Maybe you can publish a book? You could even start a blog to journal your thoughts or tips for the younger generation.
10. Try your hand at art and craft
My friend’s mother, who just turned 80, is adept at handicrafts and helps her with her workshops. The connection between art and brain may not seem obvious but there’s research to indicate that art can be an important tool to maintain a healthy brain.
The good news is, that viewing art can be just as effective as creating art as it engages and integrates the cognitive, emotional, sensory, and motor systems. This keeps the brain healthy.
So go ahead, and visit an art museum to relax while stimulating your brain! You could also take up a craft project that interests you, such as jewelry making, sewing, embroidery, crocheting, sketching, etc. Or learn something that you have always wanted to.
Cognitive decline does not have to accompany aging. With brain training exercises, you can keep memory loss at bay while boosting your mental health. Start today, and enjoy the benefits.