Having an alert and agile mind is just as important as being physically active. Regularly exercising your mind will help improve your memory, reasoning skills, attention span and overall quality of life.
There are also some health benefits to maintaining mental agility including a reduction in the risk of neurodegenerative diseases like dementia. This article will highlight the importance of maintaining your mental agility and give you some ideas on how to do so.
The Importance of Maintaining Mental Agility
A 5-year study conducted by scientists from the United States examined the effect of mentally stimulating activities on the elderly. It found that for people who had developed dementia, mental stimulation slowed the progression of the disease (Hall et al., 2009).
The activities they used in the research included doing crossword puzzles, reading and writing, playing board games, card games, playing music and having group discussions. The more activities people enjoyed the better the outcomes.
Another study looked at elderly people suffering from mild cognitive impairment. It found that the participating in computer activities, pottery and quilting decreased the risk of memory loss by between 30-50% (“AAN: Nimble Activity Protects Against Mild Cognitive Impairment”, 2009).
Maintaining mental agility will also help you remember facts, retain memories from your past and learn new skills. A study from Stanford University found that memory loss can be improved as much as 50 percent by performing mental exercises! If you enjoy reminiscing and preserving your cherished memories, it is important to maintain your mental agility.
Ways to Maintain Mental Agility
Jigsaw puzzles, crosswords, brain teasers, riddles and sudoku puzzles can all help you improve your mental agility. Simply get into the habit of performing a puzzle while enjoying a morning or afternoon cup of tea. The key is to get into the habit of performing puzzles and making them a part of your daily schedule.
Board games including chess, checkers, scrabble, Go, trivial pursuit, and Pictionary can all improve your mental agility. These games have the added benefit of being social activities that are a great deal of fun!
Learn new things
Taking up a completely new hobby or learning a new language can dramatically improve your mental agility. You could take up piano, learn how to play guitar or start woodworking. The more new things you learn, the quicker your mind becomes.
Reading books is mentally stimulating and will help you maintain an agile mind. Consider joining a book club, which will combine the beneficial activity of reading with socializing and discussing the issues in a variety of different books.
Arts and Crafts
Not only will arts and crafts improve your mental agility; you will be able to create some gifts for friends and relatives. Any kind of arts and crafts activity is useful for maintaining mental agility including sewing, tapestry making, drawing, painting, woodworking, pottery, basket making and jewelry making.
Perform some online “brain training”
There are a variety of websites that are designed to improve cognitive function. Sites like Luminosity, CogniFit Brain Training and Memrise are filled with dozens of different games and puzzles designed to improve your mind. If you get into the habit of spending 20 minutes on one of these sites each day, your mind will become much more agile!
Socialize with other people
Studies have shown that socializing plays an important part of maintaining good health as you age. If you have a strong social network, you will also be happier as you age. Look for activities that improve your mental agility while being social.
Performing physical activity can also improve your mental agility. When you move your body, not only will you be looking after your physical health, but you will also be stimulating your mind as well. Physical activity will reduce the risk of many health conditions including diabetes, heart disease, obesity, insomnia, and dementia. It will help you stay calm and mentally alert.
Physical activity can also be a great way to socialize. Some great physical activities for the elderly include lawn bowls, walking, doubles tennis, croquet, table tennis, badminton and gardening.
How All Heart Home Care Can Help
Home care involves a trained Caregiver visiting your home to help with a range of common daily tasks including cleaning, cooking, laundry services, picking up medications, shopping and much more.
They can also help you maintain your mental agility through the many activities listed above. Non-medical home care can help ensure that your mind and body are in good health!
We hope you enjoyed this article on maintaining your mental agility. If you have any questions about our home care services, contact All Heart Home Care at 619-736-4677. We offer in-home consultations and would love to discuss the many home care services available.
AAN: Nimble Activity Protects Against Mild Cognitive Impairment. (2009). Medpagetoday.com. Retrieved 19 May 2016, from http://www.medpagetoday.com/MeetingCoverage/AAN/12931
Hall, C., Lipton, R., Sliwinski, M., Katz, M., Derby, C., & Verghese, J. (2009). Cognitive activities delay onset of memory decline in persons who develop dementia. Neurology, 73(5), 356-361. http://dx.doi.org/10.1212/wnl.0b013e3181b04ae3