It is a common myth that as people get older their memory is supposed to deteriorate. That has been proven wrong time and time again. With proper conditioning our brains can stay sharp and function optimally as long as they have to. The issue is that people tend to slow down as time goes by. We work less, we constantly use the excuse that we are older so we let the younger colleague do most of the job, we go on certain “old people’s” diets and most of all, we stop reading, learning and progressing only because we are at the final few pages of our books. The thing is that if we keep exercising our brains, they will keep their cognitive abilities at their peak for as much as we want them to. This is why I created this article where I will share some of the best brain stimulating exercises for seniors that will keep you sharp throughout the autumn of your lives.
Some of the best brain exercises for older people are what you would give a kid to exercise its brain. Play chess, go for long walks, keep changing up your daily routine, find a hobby that you love and keep doing it until you are great at it. Sudoku, crossword puzzles, jigsaw puzzles, scrabble, and all sorts of other card games are also a fun activity which will both keep you social and give your brain the much needed stretch.
Before I move on to showing you some of the exercises I’ve specially handpicked for this occasion, I want to take a moment and mention that whatever effect you are going after do not expect it to be sudden. As with the rest of our body, our organs need time to adapt to the new conditions and so will the brain take probably months before you feel any noticeable effects. My point is, don’t get discouraged when you spend a few weeks following these advices and you can’t feel an effect. Now, let’s get started, shall we?
Remember Your Old Hobby?
If you had a hobby when you were younger but ditched it because you lacked the time or energy for it, now is the perfect time to revive it! Arts and crafts are the best kind of hobbies to develop our hand-eye coordination, reflexes, fine motor skills, and most importantly – our brains.
Some of the hobbies I recommend for senior people to get on with are:
- Painting, drawing, and anything in this field
- Making clay figures
- Learning a music instrument
When it comes to music some instruments aren’t ideal, such as wind instruments for people with pulmonary issues. I personally find the piano one of the best instruments for brain improvement and hand coordination.
Puzzles & Games Are Ideal
One of the best ways to keep your mind sharp is through puzzles. They will keep you alert and raise both your memory and attention to detail up. There are countless of puzzle games that I personally love but the most accessible ones are:
- Jigsaw puzzles
I personally recommend Sudoku as it is the most brain-intensive game out of them all. What is great about this game is that it has levels of difficulty and if you are new to it you can start from the bottom level and build your way to the expert difficulties.
Want to know which are the best right brain exercises? Click here to read my dedicated article on the topic.
Card games are a great stimulus for the brain. Most of them require a good memory and are great for some friendly competition. Games such as Rummy, Patience, Hearts, Go Fish, and Uno are all great and fun way to jog your brain a little.
Sure, poker games are great as well, as they require logical and critical thinking as well as a lot of decision making but I wouldn’t openly promote casino games. If you play a little friendly poker with your friends with predetermined stakes before the game starts, then sure – go ahead!
Break Up Your Daily Routine
One of the main enemies of the brain’s ability to stay fresh is the monotonous daily routine. Try making new things every day. If you always take a walk to a place, change your walk route. If you always eat the same thing for breakfast, try preparing something entirely different.
Our brains love new memories and our memory, in fact, works far better with things it can cling on. If you do the same thing every day, time will go pass way faster as days will blend in and you won’t have any memorable landmarks around which to build your memories when looking back at the spent time.
Most of the adults spend a lot of time indoors. Not only is this bad for your muscle and skeletal systems but is also depriving you from the much needed vitamin D. Gardening takes you outsides and moves your body around. If you have bad knees this hobby won’t be ideal for you but nevertheless this is a great way to keep your mind and body in shape while also having a gorgeous looking garden!
If you are interested in which vitamins are the best for your brain’s health, check out this article. There, I’ve compiled a list of the best brain vitamins and listed some other minerals and nutrients that can greatly benefit your brain’s health. You will also find a short list of things to avoid if you want to keep your mind sharp and memory durable.
I know that I already mentioned this but cooking also requires a bit of special attention. It is one of the few activities that involve all five of our senses. All these senses have different pathways in the brain and engage different brain parts making cooking a very global process when it comes to our nerve system. On top of that, following and memorizing recipes is great for our memories, judgement, and planning skills.
Cooking also allows elderly people to feel more self-sufficient, meaning they won’t have to depend on other people as much. This is a great confidence booster!
Chess is one of the games that is considered best for our cognitive abilities. Sure, it doesn’t involve much movement for the body but it sure does jog the brain. If you go through the proper chess training, you will have to remember moves, positions, combinations, tactics, and other strategic plays. It is also a fun and competitive game which has boosting properties for both our short and long-term memories.
Another thing that helps people of all ages are the nootropic stacks. They have a combined list of vitamins, minerals, and brain-enhancing substances that will improve the brain’s cognitive abilities over time. You can click here to go to the full Buyer’s Guide I’ve done on nootropic stacks. There you will learn what nootropics are, how they are used, and which are the best ones on today’s market.
Now, let’s move on to some of the questions people most often ask when it comes to similar topics.
How Can I Strengthen My Brain?
Strengthening your brain is most often referred to strengthening your attention or focusing abilities. The easiest way to do that is to try yoga or meditation. There are other ways such as exercising regularly and practicing mindfulness throughout your day. Read long texts slowly and try memorizing them. All these acts gradually strengthen your brain and its capabilities.
How Do You Stay Sharp Mentally?
As I’ve explained countless times, the thing that put chains on your mental sharpness are the bad habits you most likely have, such as smoking, drinking, not eating regularly or healthily. Other factors that will keep you sharp are controlling your cholesterol levels and blood pressure. All these factors affect your brain and make its work limited in terms of its potential and sharpness. Stimulate your brain by playing games like chess, where you will have to be focused and sharp in order to prevail.
How Can I Get The Most Out Of My Brain?
Your brain is like a muscle in a very abstract way. The more you train it, the more you will be able to get out of it. A healthy sharp brain is capable of things the unhealthy one cannot even comprehend. Cut the sugars from your diet, stop smoking and drinking and exercise more and you will feel the effects of this very soon. Once you are in the zone, you will outperform your old self in virtually anything.
Which Yoga Is Best For Memory Power?
These yoga poses which are great for improving memory and one’s mental strength. Those poses are:
- The Crane Pose
- The Lotus Pose
- Standing Forward Bend
- Plow Pose
- Shoulder Stand Pose
- Seated Forward Bend
- Tree Stand Pose
Performing either of those at least once per day has proven effects on long-term memory.
Knowing which are the best brain-stimulating exercises for seniors is a knowledge you can apply either to yourself if you are already at that age or to loved ones by helping them regain the brain’s capabilities. As a whole, the games I listed in this article are great for all generations and are stimulating enough to keep our minds focused and sharp while at the same time are fun and promote friendly competition.