How to Keep Your Mind Sharp as You Age
Research shows there are many ways you can keep your mind sharp as you age. A few of the best ways to keep your mind sharp that are also easy to incorporate into your daily life include:
- Playing games like sudoku, chess and trivia
- Taking classes
- Doing physical exercise
- Improving your nightly sleep schedule
- Eliminating unhealthy habits like smoking and excessive drinking
- Improving stress management
Keeping Your Brain Healthy
Your brain is behind every single one of your life experiences, so it makes sense that it would slow down a bit as the years go on – although it doesn’t have to. There are several ways for you to stimulate your mind and stay sharp as you get older and enjoy retirement. If you want to keep your quick wit, read ahead and learn how to keep your mind sharp as you age.
It’s easier to stick to something if it’s fun. That’s why one of the best ways to keep your brain in shape is by playing games. Any game that involves strategy, numbers or word association will provide your mind with healthy stimuli. Here are a few examples of games that can keep your brain going:
- Word games like crosswords
- Card games such as rummy, poker and blackjack
- Jigsaw puzzles
For those who engage through technology, there are tons of “brain games” and apps available online. Some are free and bare-bones, while others have an impressive amount of content available for just a few dollars. These games and apps are designed to stimulate your brain in all the right ways and using them regularly can have a positive effect on your sharpness.
Reading gives you the chance to absorb new information and research shows your brain benefits from the actual process of reading. Whether you prefer fiction, non-fiction, books or magazines, what’s important is the fact that you’re reading.
If you’re more likely to stick with an activity that has additional structure (or people) involved, try signing up for classes and taking on assignments. This will motivate you to engage and will help you learn a new subject or skill.
You can take classes anywhere, including in your community or at the local recreation center, but depending on how serious you are, you might even consider taking college courses. Whether you never got a chance to get a degree or you’ve been thinking about following up with a master’s, there’s no better way to keep your mind operating at full force than by going back to school.
Exercise Your Body
Your mind and body are linked, which means the way you treat your body has an impact on your mind and vice versa. Physical exercise is a famously important aspect of a healthy lifestyle, and it impacts your brain by releasing endorphins. Endorphins are hormones that fight pain, reduce stress and elevate your mood. Physical workouts also improve blood circulation, which means more oxygen is readily available to the brain. These are all helpful effects when it comes to focusing your mind, so try to exercise at least a few times a week.
The brain consolidates memories while you’re sleeping, so your sleep patterns play an important role in keeping your mind in top shape. Try to go to bed at the same time every night and leave yourself enough time to get sufficient sleep before you have to be up and active. Consider using a white noise machine to block out sudden noises that might wake you up in the middle of the night. If you experience sleep apnea, talk to your doctor about a CPAP machine or another treatment option.
Here are some other ideas that can help you enjoy a better night’s rest:
- Sleep in a different position
- Buy a new mattress
- Change your nighttime routine
- Turn off your phone, TV and computer screens
Get Out and Socialize
Even if you’re as introverted as they come, it pays to get out and see people once in a while. Socializing can improve your mood, and it never hurts to nurture your relationships. Regular social interaction could even lower the risk of dementia, so invite a friend for a cup of coffee or go to a movie with a family member. If you don’t live close to family or friends, you could also consider a supportive living community. Communities make it easy for you to connect with neighbors and expand your horizons through new activities.
Maintain Your Healthy Habits
Keep practicing all the healthy habits you developed over the course of your life. Eat a balanced diet, try to exercise a few times a week and avoid smoking and excessive drinking. Practice proper hygiene and stick to your oral health routine. Continue to take care of your mind and body the way you have in the past, and your brain will keep up.
Handle Your Stress in a Healthy Way
Stress releases a hormone called cortisol, and too much cortisol can cause anxiety, disrupt your sleep schedule and even make it difficult to concentrate. These effects aren’t going to help you stay sharp, so it’s important to keep your cortisol levels in check. Some stress is normal and healthy, too much is not. Fortunately, there are plenty of healthy ways to handle stress when it inevitably comes around. Try these senior health tips to minimize stress:
- Practice yoga and meditation
- Get a massage
- Listen to music
- Spend time with your friends
- See a therapist
Keep Your Mind Engaged at Spring Creek
An active brain will help keep your wits sharp throughout your entire life. Spring Creek is a senior living community in Plano, Texas, that provides assisted living and memory care in an environment that creates and encourages engagement. We’re just outside of downtown Dallas, close to many mind-stimulating attractions that appeal to a wide variety of people. Contact us for more information on our community and the programs we use to help our residents pursue a healthy lifestyle.