As we age, it’s important for us to keep our minds mentally focused and active. Mental decline occurs when we don’t exercise our brains. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, lack of learning increases the risk of Alzheimer’s. In fact, increasing brain activity may help strengthen our brains’ connectors and brain cells. Through learning, we may even cause our brains to create new brain cells.
While learning isn’t necessarily a silver bullet when it comes to mental decline, the truth is that it can stay off problems such as dementia and Alzheimer’s. People who are constantly learning can actually delay its onset.
What We Can Do to Exercise Our Brains
We don’t have to return to college to get our Masters or PhD to work our brain. In fact, we can challenge our brains right at home. We can find plenty of things to do to challenge ourselves to continue to strengthen the connections within our brains and the brain cells themselves. Here are some things we can try to keep ourselves mentally active and challenged.
Remember when we were kids? We always loved to play games. Many games, back then, had the purpose of teaching us different things. We may have learned vocabulary, deductive reasoning, or trivia by playing games. Now that we’re older, we don’t necessarily need to learn new things for our jobs or for school, but we do need to keep our brains active. Games are fun, and they serve the purpose admirably. Whether you play board games, video games, or other interactive games, you’ll not only be having fun, but you’ll be keeping your brain sharp.
Learn Something New
Take a class at the local community college. If we can’t afford it or if we can’t attend the college for any reason, we can try Coursera which offers hundreds of free courses every year from colleges across the globe. By learning new things, we can keep our brains active and our minds sharp.
Do Crossword Puzzles and Other Puzzles
Another fun thing you can do is challenge yourself with crossword puzzles and other puzzles such as Sudoku. These games can make you think and work on recalling words that you normally would not use day to day.
Don’t Forget the Physical Workout, Too
Another way to keep your mind active is to keep your body physically active as well. By exercising, stimulate both your brain and your body. It’s recommended to get 30 minutes of exercise at least 3 to 4 times a week.