Fun Activities That Can Help Keep You Mentally Alert

As we grow older there is always a need to stay mentally alert,, despite our busy and herculean schedule. A lot of things demand our daily attention and sometimes to ease off the stress all we need is fun activities that can ease the pressure yet keep us mentally alert.

1. Physical Exercise
While scientists have yet to determine how to fully prevent Alzheimer’s disease, they have done some research that demonstrates that keeping our brains active throughout our lives can delay symptoms. Some research has even shown a delay in symptoms of up to five years. If you could delay Alzheimer’s and have those extra years to enjoy your family and friends, wouldn’t you want that? So, get ready to stretch your mind and try the following 12 activities, starting with physical exercise.

Several studies have shown the cognitive benefits of physical exercise. Scientists have often linked a healthy body with a healthy mind. Stretch out before beginning your routine, and make sure your doctor has approved your exercise regimen, whether it consists of a walk three times a week, an exercise DVD, Wii Fit, or a class at your local Y.

2. Learn Another Language
Research has demonstrated a significant delay in Alzheimer’s symptoms in individuals who are bilingual. It’s not yet understood how or why this occurs. One possible explanation is that somehow the brains of bilinguals are able to compensate for the deficits caused by Alzheimer’s, causing these individuals to function as if their brains had less damage than they actually do. Although some of the research tested those who spoke another language most or all of their lives, it’s never too late to learn a new language. You can take a community education class, go to your local library or find resources online for new language learners.

3. Play a Musical Instrument
Do you play an instrument or have you always wanted to learn? For years, research has indicated that music uses a different section of the brain than speaking or writing. For example, individuals who have experienced a stroke and have difficulty speaking have been known to sing complete songs.

Although using different parts of your brain doesn’t guarantee protection against Alzheimer’s or other dementias, research has shown that people with dementia tend to respond well to music. And, at the very least, music is an enjoyable way to spend time.

4. Socialization
Spend time with others, talk, discuss the latest political news, sports, or family happenings, and laugh together. If you think of the brain as a muscle, it needs to be used and used in many different ways. Laughter is beneficial for the mind, body, and the heart.

5. Play Games
Try strategy games. You can play with others in person or online by yourself. Fun games include Scrabble, euchre, chess, bridge, and more elaborate games like Agricola and Cities & Knights. Games that require more strategy, as opposed to the luck of the draw, may be more effective in challenging your brain.

6. Read a Book
Books are everywhere. Now that there’s so much available online, you don’t even have to leave the comfort of your own home. If you enjoy reading, try something that’s a bit different from your typical genre. For example, if you enjoy romance books, try reading a book about gardening or a how-to article on financial planning. You can also consider joining a book club if you need encouragement and accountability to continue reading.

7. Do Puzzles
Crosswords, Sudoku, and jumble puzzles are all ways to keep your brain active. Think of it as your daily walk around the block for your brain.

8. Travel
If a picture is worth a thousand words, seeing something in person could be priceless. New experiences and unfamiliar situations can be a good workout for your mind. Traveling might be helpful for reducing your stress level, which has been connected with dementia risk. A word of caution, however: Ensure that you’re in good physical and mental health before embarking on your adventure.

9. Calculate Math Problems
Rather than use your calculator or an online program to balance your checkbook, do it the old-fashioned way. Brushing up on your math skills can be part of your weekly routine, and it won’t take much time. Have grandchildren or know others who are learning their math facts? Spending a little time helping them learn multiplication could benefit both of you.

10. Volunteering
Volunteering can combine several of these strategies. For example, you could tutor a student at the local elementary school on a weekly basis. This could involve socialization, reading, or math skills and perhaps even games or a new language. Or you can use your skills at the local community development organization. Volunteering is one way to share the gifts you’ve been given, and it’s beneficial to you at the same time.

Adapted from; VeryWell

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