The best exercises to strengthen senior brains: Give it a try, your brain will thank you!
Daily physical and mental exercise can boost brain cognition, improve memory and possibly reduce a person’s risk of Alzheimer’s Disease, extending the time for safe at-home living.
Memory games are a simple exercise that can be done anywhere. During long trips or periods of waiting, seniors should try memorizing a list of words, colors, items. Then recite the list back. Play memory games on a smartphone or tablet. Or play traditional card or board games that involve shape-sorting and word-association games. You can also play a no-supplies-required mimicking game in which a person memorizes a string of movements or poses in the other.
Seniors can exercise their memory by playing a beloved instrument or learning how to play a new one. Both will keep minds active and firing neurons. You can also strengthen fingers, feet (if the instrument has pedals) and arms through music. If able to handle the weight of a guitar strap, try playing while standing and slowly moving around the room.
Learn a language: If the physical demands of musical instruments are too much, try learning a foreign language. This stimulates anyone’s brain and stave off memory loss. It’s also an opportunity to learn about a new culture as languages and cultures are closely intertwined.
We all need social engagement with family, community, the world. So converse with those you meet. Take a walk or play games while conversing. It’s more stimulating than you realize. Dialogue sharpens focus and multi-tasking.
Tai Chi: If you frequent public parks, you might have seen seniors practicing slow, measured movements. That’s likely Tai Chi, an ancient Chinese exercise that improves balance, coordination and breath control. Highly praised for its low-impact movements, it can help seniors reduce the risk of falls and severity of joint pain.
Consider also the many benefits of yoga where both mind and body are trained, while you lower blood pressure and stress. Reason aplenty to give it a try.
This story is sponsored by MorningStar of Beaverton at 14475 SW Barrows Road; 503.714.7363. Overlooking natural wetlands, MorningStar of Beaverton offers 66 suites for assisted living and 38 devoted to memory care, with studio, one- and two-bedroom floor plans as large as 974 sqft.