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The Importance Of Finding Time To Exercise Your Mind As You Age

Posted by Blooms The Chemist on 13 May 2020

The Importance Of Finding Time To Exercise Your Mind As You Age


Exercising Your Aging Mind

Aging can bring evident and visible changes to your body, like muscle loss or weight gain as your metabolism slows[1]. These visible signs can encourage you to do something about it. What may not be so apparent is the effect of aging on your mind. In a similar way that practising exercise encourages your body to use all its muscles, mental activities can stimulate your brain to use all its different areas.

Benefits Of Mental Exercise

There are many benefits to mental exercises at any age. In the short term, they can help improve concentration and maintain memory[2]. Over the longer term, an active brain is less likely to suffer from problems such as dementia or Alzheimer’s.

Even the practice of scheduling time to exercise your brain every day can have a positive result. It can be a mental time-out from a regular routine.

Challenging Your Brain

The key is to challenge your brain regularly, ideally daily, with thinking that is not part of your normal routine. While a crossword is good for your mental health, it only activates a part of your brain. The idea is to stimulate as many different parts of your brain as possible.

Whatever mental exercises you consider, here are three concepts to consider:

  1. Novelty

    Trying new and different things and pushing yourself out of your comfort zone forces your brain to work harder and that’s a good thing.

  2. Variety

    As with anything, if you do the same thing every time, the benefits are limited. Keep the activity varied. There are computer-based brain exercise apps, games and programs designed to target different parts of your brain every day.

  3. Challenge

    Whatever action you decide to undertake, it has to be challenging. This is a personal thing as what challenges some minds won’t present a challenge to others. Make sure the activity you’re attempting is not too easy, then you’ll know you’re challenging your brain.

As we age it is easy to slip into complacency with our mental health. We can stimulate the brain to prevent and prolong the risk of deteriorating function by getting into a habit of mental exercise starting today.

If you feel like your thinking or memory is suffering, or you have noticed something has changed, you should discuss it with your health care professional. They can help you find a pathway to maintaining a healthy mind.

Written by Nathan C.
Nathan is passionate about fitness, including researching and writing about it.

References

[1] Siparksy P N, Kirkendall D T, Garret Jr W E. Muscle Changes in Aging. 2014-01

[2] McKay B, McKay K. Your Concentration Training Program: 11 Exercises That Will Strengthen Your Attention. 2020-05-23

All articles are provided as general information and are not intended, nor may it be construed, as medical advice or instruction. Information and opinions expressed are believed to be correct and accurate to the best knowledge and judgement of the authors. Readers should consult their appropriately qualified health care professional prior to taking any action or inaction.