We seniors are aware that staying active physically is good medicine. We are mindful of a good balance of healthy activity, good nutrition and maintaining a hearty social life. But we may underestimate the benefits of keeping our minds challenged. Mental stimulation, especially introducing new information to our brains, is a great way to keep our minds sharp and battle mental decline.
Here are some ways to challenge our minds, keeping those neural pathways firing and holding memory loss at bay.
Online Games and Puzzles
Go to memozor.com and find some free and challenging memory games. Match images as quickly as you can and try to beat your own number of moves and times. It’s fun and will challenge your brain to remember patterns, shapes and locations.
Go to ElderOptions and find a number of fun and challenging mind games including crossword puzzles with various themes such as geography, music and history. Find word searches, Sudoku and more. All for free.
Games for the Brain is an excellent site with several dozen brain games. Play Chinese Checkers, Anagramania or Number Hunt. You’ll find hours of fun and good brain stimulation at the same time.
Paper and Pencil
Invest in some crossword puzzle, word search or Sudoku books. Or spend a little time writing simple poems such as haiku or limericks. Get the neurons firing while having some fun.
Order workbooks on a topic of interest such as beginning Spanish or one of those math classes you failed to master when you were in school. Get busy and learn something new.
For some, simple art instruction will open up new worlds of creativity. Go to Free Online Art Classes and try something new. Watch a video, gather a few art supplies and give it a go.
Simple board games that give young children practice in learning are also good medicine for us seniors. Play word games such as Scrabble or Boggle. Challenge spatial relationship with games such as Blokus and Squanda. Play familiar strategy games such as Monopoly and Settlers of Catan.
Research has shown that foreign language study boosts brain power and can protect against cognitive decline. And there are many free online courses in dozens of languages. Take a look at the BBC’s language activities and programs. Why not learn a bit of Chinese or Dutch? Planning a trip? Pick up a bit of the local language for an enhanced travel experience. Wow your family members with your newly-spruced up French.
Above all, we seniors need to keep active mentally. There are so many ways to keep our minds active. So continue all the good things you’re already doing—staying active physically, eating well and getting enough rest. Maintain relationships with family and friends. All of these things help us stay strong mentally.
But take a little time and find some new ways to challenge your memory, your problem-solving skills and your ability to learn new information. Your brain will benefit and you’ll have fun at the same time.