Fun ways to keep your mind young
As we get older, our brain changes, and our mental functions can slow down. And, while there’s little we can do about getting older, we can take some simple steps to protect our mental ability.
We’re never too young to be aware of how to keep our brain healthy and start implementing habits that will protect us from the effects of ageing as much as possible. Indeed, research shows that keeping mentally and physically healthy in middle age may help stave off the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.
With this in mind, here are some activities you can start practising to help keep your mind young.
Seek out stimulating activities
Studies on both mice and humans have shown that activities requiring the use of the brain, such as learning, stimulate new connections between nerve cells. It can even help regenerate new cells, develop neurological plasticity and build up a reserve of cells that can compensate when they’re lost or damaged in the future.
There’s a wide choice of mentally stimulating activities you can participate in – from playing play puzzles and word or casino games at Unibet, to learning a new language, taking up drawing or painting.
According to Harvard Medical School, repetition is a powerful learning tool, and one you can practise daily without too much effort. You’ve probably got a favourite book, poem, or song. Set yourself a goal to memorise parts of it over a few weeks.
You could also get into the habit of making yourself remember what you want to buy at the shops, for example, rather than rely on a list. And make a point of remembering the names of new acquaintances.
Read a book
Losing yourself in a good book isn’t just enjoyable; it’s also beneficial for your brain. The benefits of reading include stress relief, increased empathy and improved brain function.
So, if you don’t already make a habit of reading, why not start? It doesn’t matter whether you prefer old-school paper books, or using a Kindle. You may even go one step further and join or start a book club in your area.
Travelling – whether it’s for a short break or longer trip – brings a wealth of rewards. Of course there’s the obvious: you get to experience new cultures and foods, try out new languages, see new sights and enjoy unexpected adventures.
But there are some less well-known benefits to travelling too. And probably the most pertinent here is creativity. It’s no coincidence that many famous novelists and artists travelled or lived overseas.
There’s another way you can keep your world from shrinking as you get older, without needing to leave the country: and that’s to meet new people.
Conversation and laughter are beneficial for your mind, body, and soul. And the stimulation and stress relief that comes from talking to people, discussing the news or interesting topics, and sharing worries can help inoculate your mind from the effects of loneliness and lack of stimulation.
Choosing to volunteer is another great way to socialise and read the rewards of feeling good because you’re helping other people.
Photo by Ryoji Iwata