Insights from The Orlando Senior Help Desk: Exercising our brains
July 8, 2022
Most people notice changes in their thinking and memory as they grow older. Neurologists tell us that some older adults develop dementia, most memory changes are age related and normal.
Staying physically active benefits every organ in our bodies - and that includes the brain. Our brains also need a good mental workout. Studies show that cognitive decline can be reduced through a combination of daily activities like using a computer and playing word games.
Mental stimulation encourages new connections between brain cells - and these connections provide alternate pathways for accessing memories, making it easier for the brain to compensate for the cognitive changes associated with dementia.
The emphasis definitely is on "new," because neurologists say that when it comes to top-notch brain exercise, novelty is especially beneficial.
The number one way to stay mentally (and physically) fit is dancing. The combination of learning new information and movement is especially good for the brain.
Consider taking classes - both the information and social interaction help the brain. Learn a new language or art form. Read and join a book club for mental and social stimulation. Do puzzles of all sorts, and/or play video games. And last, but not least, take up gardening.