When you think of exercise, you likely think about physical exertion. You might picture someone lifting weights, attending an aerobics class, speed-walking through the neighborhood, or going for a swim. But it’s important to remember that your brain requires exercise as well. If you don’t challenge it regularly, your mental health and acuity will suffer. So, if you’re hoping to give your brain a workout, explore some brain-boosting activities for seniors.
Although they may just seem like fun and games, brain-boosting activities for seniors can have a profound impact on your health. They have been found to improve reasoning skills and your brain’s processing speed, reduce your risk of developing dementia, and even prevent falls.
Your brain isn’t a muscle — it’s an organ — but it can be helpful to think of it like one. By giving it a stretch and some exercise on a regular basis, you can sharpen your mental skills and improve your memory.
Brain-Boosting Activities for Seniors
Checkers and Chess
These classic strategy games can strengthen logical reasoning and problem-solving skills. Learning the rules of chess can be a little complicated at first, especially if it’s your first time, but be patient and remember that when you’re struggling to choose your next move, you’re giving your brain an excellent workout.
Word games challenge your linguistics skills. Some can be completed alone, while others require a partner or a group. You’re sure to find a favorite among the plethora of word games available these days, perhaps among these common picks:
- Crossword Puzzles
- Word searches
If you’re looking for a peaceful and relaxing activity that will still challenge your mind, a puzzle is the perfect choice. You can always increase the difficulty by choosing a puzzle with more pieces, smaller pieces, or a more complex design.
Online Games and Apps
If you’re bored of the same old brain teasers, head online! A wide variety of games are available on the internet or via apps. Some test your memory, while others focus on math, shapes, words, or basic problem-solving. Some popular brain-strengthening apps include Lumosity, Peak, CogniFit, and BrainHQ.
A simple deck of cards offers a million possibilities when it comes to brain games. There are games you can play alone (like Solitaire or Pyramid) as well as games ideal for a group (like Bridge or Rummy). Whether you want a game that emphasizes speed, memory, problem-solving, or camaraderie, there’s a card game out there for you.
A logic game that appeals to people of all ages, sodoku requires you to look for number patterns. It’s easy enough to learn quickly but challenging enough to feel very satisfying when you complete a puzzle.
Endlessly satisfying, trivia requires you to search your memory for the right answer. You can find trivia questions for every subject imaginable: pop culture, current affairs, history, sports, geography, and on and on the list goes.
Arts & Crafts
Creative activities like arts and crafts accomplish a few things at once, requiring you to learn new skills, exercise your imagination, and maintain dexterity. You could learn to watercolor paint, knit a scarf, build a model airplane, or create fun holiday decor to give to your friends.
Learning a New Language
If you’ve ever tried to learn a new language, you know how difficult it is. But once you’ve learned some basic vocabulary, it’s immensely satisfying to put your new knowledge to use in conversation with a bilingual friend, when reading a book in that language, or while watching a foreign-language movie. You could attend an in-person class to start your language journey or simply head online, taking a class with Babbel or Lingoda or using an app like Duolingo. However you go about it, you’ll give your brain a vigorous workout.
Which of these brain-boosting activities for seniors most appeals to you? Keep in mind that one of the best ways to exercise your mind is to switch up your routine. So you might want to choose a handful of these activities and cycle through them to ensure that your brain never gets bored.
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