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How to keep your brain active no matter age

Elders traveling with a map by Nutmeg Senior Riders

What are brain gymnastics for the elderly?

Brain gymnastics for the elderly is an activity of a series of exercises specially designed to exercise all parts of the brain. This activity allows you to keep your memory and memories active and improve mental agility.

Previously it was believed that memory loss, neglect of routine activities, or forgetting things were caused by aging. Still, the reality is that this happens when the mind is not active, especially during old age.

For this reason, these types of exercises in particular focus on improving brain capacities, something that allows new connections to be generated between neurons. In this way, the mind is kept active, and several benefits are acquired.

How to slow down brain aging

The brain ages as we age. However, experts say that it is possible to learn throughout life. You must consider tips that allow you to delay brain aging as much as possible.

The human brain, like the rest of the organs, ages as we age. It is an inevitable physiological process that, according to experts, begins around the age of 40. The good news is that although there is a 25% genetic determination that we cannot change, keeping the brain young and healthy depends 75% on our lifestyle, something that can be controlled.

Suppose the best way for an organ to remain active is to use it. In that case, the key to healthy aging lies in training the body and mind and being prepared to carry out alternative activities after retirement and during old age.

Neuroscience is the science that studies the brain in all its aspects. It has provided new knowledge that has banned some myths, such as the one that claimed that it is impossible to replace neurons or that learning is limited to childhood.

On the contrary, and as scientific research has shown, the brain is a dynamic organ, neurogenesis is a process that allows cells to regenerate and produce new neurons, and the ability to learn is maintained throughout life. Learning to take advantage of it is in your hands.

Keeping the brain active: cognitive stimulation

To keep the brain active and depending on the state and needs of the elderly person, you can do everything from specific things, such as reading a newspaper or a magazine, to following a cognitive stimulation program specially designed by professionals who are experts in the field.

When we talk about cognitive stimulation, we think of significantly older people who have some senile dementia. However, the strategies used in this type of stimulation can improve the quality of life of people at any stage of their lives and, even more so, when entering old age, without the need to suffer from any pathology.

Some of the things that can be done daily to stimulate the brain of older people are the following:

  • Read: There are many options for reading. The newspaper, a book, a magazine, or whatever is at hand.
  • Write: keep a diary, make lists of things that we have to do, make the shopping list, write down things that we liked, etc.
  • Do hobbies: crosswords, word searches, sudoku, among other activities.
  • Practice a hobby: painting, sewing or listening to music. Not only do we enjoy doing something we like, but we will also activate our neurons.
  • Play: cards, dominoes, chess, board games, or "I see, I see" with our grandchildren.
  • Participate in artistic, cultural, and intellectual activities: visit museums, exhibitions, participate in reading clubs, attend conferences and talks.
  • Learn: a language, to play a musical instrument. It is recommended to learn something every day to slow cognitive aging.
  • Do exercises expressly designed to improve memory, attention, and other mental functions.

Keep learning

One of the main problems with age is the surplus of time. You no longer have to work, take care of children, or do anything special. Keeping busy helps them feel valued. There are activities in which they can develop, and they do not need efforts that exceed their capacities. They can learn to play an instrument, take painting classes or courses to learn something new.

Challenging the brain with any type of exercise that forces it to think helps stimulate neural communication and, therefore, mental health. In one study, it demonstrated improved memory in older adults who learned a new hobby such as digital photography or embroidery.

Exercise

It is not about running a marathon, but doing constant exercise helps increase the blood flow that reaches the brain and strengthens the cellular links of this organ so that the connections are better and benefit mental agility. Half an hour of daily physical activity is more than enough.

In fact, in one study, Dr. Aron Buchman, a professor of neurology at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, showed that older people who stay active have a cognitive reserve, even when their brains show signs of damage and other markers such as Alzheimer's.

Use all senses

The more senses the body uses, the more active the brain stays and the better the neural connections. For example, if the activity is going to be cooking, not only should a dish be prepared, it is important that the person touches the ingredients and feels their textures, that they smell each one before using it and that, at the end, when they taste the dish, try to find each of the flavors you used.

Any extra activity can become a sensory exploration experience.

Video game

There are particular games for older adults, and they can have significant benefits for your mind as they have been shown to help train memory, movement, and motor skills. According to a study, platform games stimulate the stimulation of the hippocampus, improving spatial vision and mental agility.

But they do not necessarily have to be particular games. In an experiment carried out at the University of Montreal, it was shown that playing Mario Kart for 30 minutes 5 days a week had remarkable effects on the gray matter of the hippocampus and the cerebellum, as well as an improvement in short-term memory.

The ideal is to mix all the above activities to improve the quality of life of older adults. However, there are times when it is not possible to take a walk or learn digital photography. That is why it is essential to consult with specialists and, above all, be aware of what you can do for your older adults. We all go there.

Over the years, exercising the body is just as important as exercising the mind. Habits and customs prevent the brain from aging too much.

At Nutmeg Senior Rides, we help you to go everywhere you need. If you want to become a member do not hesitate to contact us.

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