Keeping the Senior Brain Sharp

“Use it or lose it” is an old cliché that is especially accurate when applied to cognitive function. While nothing can stop the aging process, it can be slowed.  Experts recommend keeping both the mind and body active in order to maintain a sharp brain.

Take Yourself Out for a Spin

Just like a car stored in a garage, underutilized bodies and brains will degrade far more rapidly than their active counterparts. Watching hours of mindless television, engaging in unproductive social media activities, all while avoiding physical activity, is the human equivalent of an undriven vehicle. Seniors are especially vulnerable to the negative effects of a sedentary lifestyle and an unchallenged brain.

Physical activity combined with a sensible diet, not smoking, and limiting alcohol intake will slow physical deterioration, but the mind is also susceptible to lack of activity, and needs to be exercised as well, especially in the twilight years. 

Ways to Keep Your Edge

Experts recommend that you challenge your brain by playing games like word jumble, crossword puzzles, and crypto quotes. Word games are thought to utilize skills controlled by the left side of the brain. They can be found in most newspapers and, combined with the best mental activity, reading, are an excellent way to keep an aging mind engaged.

But don’t just give the left side of your brain a workout. Stretch the capabilities of the right side as well by engaging in numbers-based puzzles, analytical tasks and strategy games. Many people enjoy Sudoku puzzles which rely on counting and strategic skills. Chess and other strategy games are great brain stimulators and provide the added benefit of social interaction. Activities that involve the hands like sewing, knitting, or assembling a puzzle are also encouraged.

Embrace Technology

Tablets, personal and laptop computers and smartphones can provide you with unparalleled access to technology. Apps developed for these devices put a variety of strategy and word games at your fingertips, many of which can be played with friends or other gamers. Through collaborative games, players can compete with or against others from around the globe.

Keep it Fun

Meeting new people, learning new skills, exercising your brain and your body are important throughout life, but especially so as you age. Along with slowing the aging process, the more you play, the greater your sense of mastery and achievement. Along the way, you can make new friends, share your interests with others, and find time for activities that are truly enjoyable. As a bonus, imagine the look of surprise on the faces of the youngsters in your life when you beat them at their own video games during holiday get-togethers.