One of my “bucket list” items is learning to play the acoustic guitar. Any new skill the brain has to learn keeps it “exercised” and functioning as it was meant to.
This week, my dear readers, let’s look at how keeping the mind – and, thus, the physical brain – stimulated can help delay the decline in cognitive skills and memory function.
Use It or Lose It
It’s very possible that being mentally active bolsters the brain, so that symptoms don’t show up until much later in life. I believe my Mom was a good example. As you will remember, I mentioned in one of my earlier articles that she was always working on puzzles, especially very challenging 3-D puzzles, and doing word searches, and playing along with the Jeopardy game show on TV to keep her memory and mind sharp. Reading books or articles on serious and/or unfamiliar subjects, or just reading “fluff” for enjoyment, are also very good ways to keep the brain and mind stimulated. I personally love to read, and I’m always working on my crossword puzzles.
Learn Something New
One of my “bucket list” items is learning to play the acoustic guitar. Any new skill the brain has to learn keeps it “exercised” and functioning as it was meant to. Another skill I have always wanted to acquire is playing chess. I have always heard this game of skill is called the “thinking [person’s]* game.” And of course we are very supportive of older folks learning technology, both learning how to become more skilled at using it as well as learning how to create it! [Editor’s Note: My Mom is right on target here. Learning to code/program computer software is a high-quality, multi-faceted mental workout! It requires memory, logical reasoning, and problem-solving, all of which are very mentally stimulating. Give it a try!] I encourage any of my readers out there who already play chess – or do other mind-stimulating activity or game – to continue to do so on a regular basis.
* I think an update from “thinking man’s game” is appropriate here in 2018, don’t you?
I Like to Move It, Move It
Research also shows that learning to dance can improve brain function. It doesn’t have to be an energetic, exhausting type of dancing as seen on the TV show “Dancing with the Stars.” Learning a slower, more relaxed dance like the Waltz will stimulate the brain as well. Of course, the more daring and adventurous may try learning the tango or foxtrot and really give the brain a workout! And dance is not the only thing that helps improve brain health (as well as full body health). Other mind-body, holistic activities, such as yoga, tai chi, or any martial art, have similar brain and full-body benefits.
When it comes to delaying the decline of memory and thinking skills, it is very important to remember that the brain must be challenged with activities to keep it functioning properly. I hope these suggestions have been helpful. It’s always a positive thing to keep learning and acquiring new skills in life.
Together, let’s age boldly,
To read more of Bernadette’s Writing the Digital Page articles, check out this one: “Contemplations on Hope”
Feature Image Credit: ignatsevichserg