Boosting Brain Fitness as You Get Older

Calendar Icon Updated January 15, 2019
Medicare

Your brain is just like any other muscle in your body. If you want to keep it as fit as possible, you need to exercise it on a regular basis. This holds especially true as move into your golden years. It’s no secret that aging can rob you of your cognitive functions as the crucial chemicals needed to maintain brain health begin to decline.

No two people are alike, and so, a decline in brain function will be different from person to person. However, there are steps you can take to slow the onset of reduced brain function no matter what your age is.

First, to exercise your brain, you need to exercise your body. The link between physical and mental health has been proven time and again. Physical exercise increases the rate of creation of new brain cells, and doing mental exercises help to grow and keep those new brain cells strong and functioning at an optimal capacity. When combined with a good diet and stress reduction techniques, cognitive health can remain at a high level well into your senior years.

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Brain fitness doesn’t have to be complicated either. As people grow older, it’s not uncommon for physicians to recommend that they take up Sudoku or crossword puzzles to stay mentally sharp.

There are several other simple exercises you do as well.
Set aside the calculator. If you’re old enough to remember a time before calculators were the norm, chances are you’ve already done lots of math in your head. Maybe you still do so. If not, doctors suggest returning full circle and do math problems in your head as they come up during the day. This might include deciding on how much a tip to leave at a restaurant to figuring out how much square footage you have to paint and they how much paint you’ll need. Simple math problems that need to be solved are everywhere if you just take time to look for them.

Learn a foreign language. You will create new neural pathways and stimulate the hearing and listening centers of your brain when you learn a new language. If you’re not that motivated, then do a lot of reading. People with rich vocabularies have been shown they have a reduced risk for cognitive decline compared to television watchers.

Wake up your taste buds. Try taking a cooking class. It will bring all of your senses alive, including smell, taste, touch and sight. You’ll get the added benefit of being around lots of other foodie fans as well.

Make a little music. It doesn’t matter if you learn to play a musical instrument or take up singing, either will stimulate your senses as you learn something new and complex over an extended period of time.

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Learn a new sport. When you challenge your physical being, you also challenge your mental being as well. Try golf, swimming or tennis which provide you with good mental challenge as well as a good physical challenge.

Find a check mate. You don’t need to go any further for a good game of brain aerobics that by setting up a chess board and finding a chess partner to play with on a regular basis. Chess is all about solving problems, playing a few steps ahead and keeping a high degree of concentration. You also get the added benefit of socializing with another person, which has its own set of health rewards.

There are dozens of ways you can keep your brain fit and there are many online resources to give you additional ideas.

Eligibility Team

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