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5 Ways to Keep Your Brain Active

Senior woman learning to paint to improve her brain health

Maybe you’re already familiar with what are jokingly called “senior moments.” You walk into your bedroom and suddenly, you can’t remember what it is you needed. Or, you set down your reading glasses and ten minutes later, you have no clue where they went.

While those of all ages certainly encounter moments of forgetfulness, older adults are generally at a higher risk for cognitive decline and memory loss. This is due to biological changes in the brain that occur as a natural part of the aging process. For example, the area of the brain known as the hippocampus, which is responsible for memory formation and retrieval, starts to deteriorate in your later years. Additionally, the hormones responsible for protecting your brain decrease with age. However, keeping your brain active as you age can help both improve your memory and possibly delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia.

How to Improve Your Memory through Brain Exercises

Just like your body needs physical activity to stay strong and fit, so does your brain. Studies reveal exercising your brain regularly can help lead to less of a decline in your cognition and memory. For example, one study looked at individuals age 65 and older who participated in “brain training” exercises involving memory and reasoning skills, as well as the speed at which they processed information. What the researchers discovered was that these adults showed improvements in all skills, with the improvements lasting for up to five years.

Leading a healthy lifestyle is also key in improving your brain health over time. Eating a nutritious diet, exercising 30 minutes per day and quitting unhealthy habits like smoking can all have a positive impact on your brain.

Additionally, there are a few simple ways to exercise your brain to keep it as healthy as possible, as well as potentially decrease your risk for dementia. Here are five brain exercises to add to your daily routine:

  1. Commit your lists to memory. Writing lists is a great way to stay organized, and you can take it step further by making your weekly lists a game for your brain. For example, write down your grocery list or daily chores then test your memory recall by working to memorize them. After writing the list, give yourself an hour and then try to name off each item. Bonus points if you go to the grocery store without your list and are able to purchase everything you need!
  2. Change up your routine. Take a different route to the library or grocery store. Exercise in the morning instead of the afternoon. Try to do math in your head rather than reach for the calculator when balancing your checkbook. Switching things up from time to time helps your brain become more efficient as it activates the cortex and hippocampus.
  3. Pick up a new hobby. Learning a new hobby such as painting, playing an instrument or dancing are all great ways to stimulate and challenge your brain. You can also take a class to learn a foreign language, as this is a great brain exercise that involves both your listening and speaking skills.
  4. Use your fine-motor skills. Refine your hand-eye abilities and keep your concentration levels high by taking up hobbies that require exceptional fine-motor skills. You can try knitting, drawing, or putting together puzzles during quiet times of the day.
  5. Try a cooking class or a new cuisine. Cooking involves several of your senses, including taste, sight and smell. Using all your senses keeps different areas of your brain engaged. Another subtle brain exercise is to try to identify the distinct flavors from herbs, spices and other ingredients when you test out a new dish.

Enjoy an Engaging Lifestyle at The Moorings at Lewes

At The Moorings at Lewes, you’ll find plenty of stimulating activities to ensure your brain is healthy and engaged. From a variety of classes in our onsite art studio and fitness center, to lifelong learning opportunities at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, we make sure you are enjoying an enriched, active lifestyle in all eight dimensions of wellness. Learn more about our senior living options and our vibrant continuing care retirement community in Lewes by contacting us today.

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