An active mind helps all of your life
Everyone worries about deterioration of all parts of the body as we age. Taking some simple steps to stay healthy as long as possible seems to be the answer.
We know that keeping active helps to keep all body parts moving! But did you know that staying physically active also helps to stimulate the brain and is great for our mental health as well? It’s equally as important because activities or exercises to make you think which include things such as doing a puzzle to playing Bridge all help to stimulate the brain.
In fact according to NIDirect ‘losing our minds’ isn’t an inevitable part of growing old. And stimulating activities can certainly help senior citizens to be free of the many forms of dementia. Remember the old adage ‘use it or lose it’, that’s definitely the case for the brain.
Forgetfulness does increase as we age but it isn’t restricted to the elderly. Forgetfulness can also effect concentration too. Remember (if you can) that keeping your brain active is the best way to counteract this part of the aging process.
NIDirect say, ‘Prolonged stress can affect the mind at any age, but age-specific events, like retirement, are highly stressful, as are bereavement and divorce. For women, the menopause can bring poor memory and concentration, anxiety and panic’.
They advocate three main steps to keeping everything healthy and in good working condition.
A healthy diet – eat your five-a-day, cut down on fat-concentrated foods, don’t add too much salt, eat more fish, drink less alcohol, drink more water and so on. You know the score.
Physical exercise – gets your heart pumping and the blood flowing, start gently, walk up the stairs rather than taking lifts or elevators in public buildings. If it has become necessary to take the lift all the time because of how less you use the stairs then you might see that getting some help in the form of a stair lift would be very beneficial. For those still active, why not leave the car at home or get off the bus a stop earlier, and aim for 30 minutes of gentle exercise five times a week. A good example of some posture exercises is shown on the video below.
Brain stimulation – give your brain plenty of exercise, do puzzles or crosswords, read more – join a book club, do Sudoku puzzles, play games: bingo, chess, computer games, start a course or take up a new interest, keep socially active so join a club of some sort.
How about joining the University of the Third Age? The University of the Third Age was 30 years old last year and currently has more than 300,000 members all keeping their brains active. Most areas have branches otherwise you can join them online. This kills two birds … can keep you socially active and offer brain stimulation.
You will find all sorts of activities covered by this organisation. Their courses are taught by members and consequently cover a wide range of subjects from water colour painting to photography; French conversation to line dancing. Go on give it a try and let us know in the comments how you get on.