Keeping your brain healthy becomes more important as you age. This is because elderly people are at higher risk of developing cognitive issues such as memory loss and dementia. However, a number of studies show that individuals who stay mentally active by playing brain games or performing memory exercises are less likely to experience cognitive decline when they get older. Keep reading to find out more about what dementia is and what you can do to avoid it.
Dementia is a brain disease that affects a person’s memory, thinking, and problem-solving abilities to such an extent that it interferes with his ability to function day to day. While dementia is more common among elderly people, it is not a normal part of aging. There are many elderly people who are 90 years of age or older who do not have dementia.
At present, there is no known cure for dementia. However, it is possible to manage the symptoms of dementia with therapy, medication, and healthy lifestyle choices. Interestingly, research shows that people who learn a second language may be able to strengthen key neural pathways, improve their mental flexibility, and reduce the risk of dementia when they get older. If learning a second language is not an option for you, try these helpful suggestions to keep your cognitive abilities sharp as the years pass:
1. Do Crossword Puzzles
Crossword puzzles consist of a grid of squares and blank spaces into which you can write words horizontally or vertically. The words that are entered into the puzzle are the answers to the clues you are given. Crossword puzzles are very popular around the world and are readily available online and in print. Doing these puzzles is an excellent way to sharpen your reading, memory, and reasoning skills. They also help to relieve stress and give you a sense of accomplishment.
2. Play Sudoku
Sudoku is a puzzle that involves numbers. As the name suggests, this game originated in Japan. Sudoku is played on a grid of 9 x 9 spaces. There are nine squares made up of 3 x 3 spaces within the rows and columns. The aim of the game is to enter the numbers 1 to 9 into the grid so that each number appears only once in each vertical line, horizontal line, and square. Sudoku is available online and in print. The game helps to improve your logical thinking, concentration, and memory. It is proven to slow the effects of Alzheimer’s disease, which is a common form of dementia.
3. Play Chess
Chess is a two-player board game that is well-known globally. It is played on a checkered board with a variety of pieces—each of which moves according to specific rules. The objective of the game is to put the opposing “king” in a position where he is under a direct attack but unable to escape.
Chess helps you to develop your strategic thinking, creativity, and concentration. Not only does this game boost your brain health, it can also help you to improve your social skills if you often play with other people. Of course, you can also play chess online if you are unable to get a physical partner. If you do not know the rules of the game, there are tons of online tutorials that can help you to learn.
4. Solve Jigsaw Puzzles
A jigsaw puzzle consists of oddly shaped pieces of cardboard or wood that can interlock. Each piece is marked with a portion of a picture. When all the pieces are properly assembled, the entire picture is revealed. Solving jigsaw puzzles regularly can boost your visual-spatial reasoning, memory, and problem solving skills. It is also possible to get puzzles that are appropriate for your current age and cognitive ability as the number of pieces in each puzzle may range from single digits to tens of thousands.
5. Read New Books
Reading news books is great for cognitive mental stimulation. Not only does it help you to improve your vocabulary, creativity, and knowledge, but it also contributes to stress relief and a good night’s sleep. Reading also boosts your ability to focus and strengthens your memory over time. If you plan to read for hours, you can minimize eye strain by reading a book that is printed rather than a soft copy.
6. Play A Musical Instrument
Playing a musical instrument from an early age is often associated with healthy cognitive development. In fact, some researchers believe that playing an instrument requires the use of almost every part of the brain. Other benefits include improving your creativity, patience, and memory. It’s also an excellent way to relieve stress.
7. Get Some Physical Exercise
Physical exercise is great for building muscles as well as increasing your brain health. If you are not comfortable with going to a gym, there are many simple workouts you can access online and do from the comfort of your home. Going for regular walks can also protect your brain from dementia. A number of clinical studies have linked physical exercise with improve cognitive function and a more positive mood.