We all know the importance of keeping our mind active. Not only does it help prevent the onset of issues such as Alzheimer’s and dementia, but it can also stave off boredom and feelings of anxiety and depression, as well as generally improving the quality of a person’s life. However, we often don’t view the brain in the way we should. This is because we often forget that the brain is a muscle too, and just like any other muscle in the body, it needs exercise in order to keep it in its best possible condition.
The problem for many though is they’re simply not sure of how to go about exercising their brain. Well, the good news is that it’s probably much easier than you imagine. In fact, many, if not all of these exercises can be performed immediately after you finish reading this. That’s how straightforward it is. And best of all, the examples given here are pretty much entirely free, with any additional items you may need being likely found around your home.
So, with that in mind, let’s take a look at the top things you can do to give your brain a workout in your golden years with our list of free brain exercises for the elderly.
1. Exercise your body
Don’t worry, we haven’t forgotten that this is supposed to be a workout for the mind, not the body. However, as it turns out, exercise is one of the best ways you can improve your cognitive function, such as your thinking ability and memory skills. It also improves your mood, meaning you’re more likely to feel positive about moving forward with the rest of our list. Pick an activity you enjoy, such as golf or swimming, and remember to never push yourself too hard – after all, a gentle walk through the park can do a world of good for both your body and mind.
2. Try to identify flavours in a dish
One unusual way to get your mind moving is to incorporate your senses into your thinking activities. For example, when you next have a meal, see how many ingredients you can guess from taste alone. This is a great way of using both your sensory and memory skills. Who knows, it may even give you a whole new level of culinary appreciation.
3. Test your memory - create a map in your mind
There’s plenty of interesting ways to test your memory, with our last example being just one example. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter how you test your recall. It could be through memorising cities, groceries, the track listing of an album, anything; it will all the same effect of improving your cognitive function.
However, we think it’s best to pick something that can retain your interest, as that will make it easier to stick to. One interesting way of doing this is by trying to recall as accurately as possible a journey you recently made. Say you go for a walk once a week: try to imagine everything you pass in as clear a detail as you can, and then again until the picture forms clearer in your mind. This creates a sense of accomplishment and improves memory and imaginative ability.
4. Use your senses in unexpected ways
Something that bodybuilders learn is that one of the best ways to build more muscle is by surprising the body with something out of the ordinary. Well, the brain is no different. By using your senses in ways you’re not used to, you can give your brain a serious workout. This can be as simple as trying to tie your laces with your eyes closed (sitting down, of course) or using your non-dominant hand to perform tasks you’d usually reserved for the other. You’ll be amazed by how just switching things up a bit, you can transform simple tasks into something that presents a real challenge.
5. Find a new hobby
Much like our last entry, this is another example of how doing the unexpected is one of the best things for your brain. Now what this could be is entirely down to what you like. Perhaps you love food. Well, in that case getting into cooking is a great skill to learn that benefits both your body and your mind. Maybe you’ve not read anything new in a while. Pick some authors you like the sound of and start on a literary journey. Any kind of new experience or skill massively improves cognitive ability, as well as just making your life a little bit more fun and interesting.
6. Play online brain games
The internet can be a wonderful resource for lots of things, and games to provide some exercise for your brain matter is absolutely one of them. There’s so many different options online and via mobile apps that trying to list all of them would be pretty much impossible but needless to say, there’s enough out there to keep people of all learning types, abilities and interests going indefinitely. Try to put aside ten minutes a day and find some games or puzzles that grab your interest. Such a small effort can have a hugely positive effect,