Keeping Your Mind Sharp - Senior Alert Medical

Keeping Your Mind Sharp

by Medical Care Alert · 11 comments

Not only can keeping your mind sharp with a healthy and active brain help you ward off disease, it can also help you live a more satisfying life.

Most people focus on the physical changes that happen as you age – muscles don’t bounce back the way they used to, hair becomes gray, and skin begins to wrinkle. But we often pass over one area that really deserves our attention: the brain and keeping your mind sharp.

Researchers have long touted the benefits of continued learning and education for an aging mind. “New learning can lead to neurophysiological growth, similar to the way aerobics leads to stronger cardiovascular health,” says Dr. Paul Nussbaum, clinical neuropsychologist and an authority on brain research and aging. “Older adults can benefit from being challenged, and should continue exploring the world and engaging in new pursuits.”

Nussbaum says there are many ways to keep your mind sharp and active at any age, for example,

1. Brain workouts – Engage your brain daily. Working with numbers is a great option. Try Sudoku, a numbers game using grids that has become very popular in the United States. If numbers don’t appeal to you, quiz yourself about historical events and check your accuracy. Crossword puzzles and word finds are practical and affordable options as well.

2. Travel and explore – Stimulating your mind with travel and learning experiences is a great brain-health activity. Elderhostel, the world’s largest nonprofit educational travel organization, offers a wide variety of affordable travel experiences across the U.S. and in more than 90 countries. These all-inclusive programs offer behind-the-scenes access to fascinating places and provide camaraderie with new friends, comfortable accommodations and appetizing meals at an excellent value.

Since today’s baby boomers don’t consider themselves “elderly”, the organization is changing the name of its programs to Exploritas to better reflect the active mindset of Elderhostel participants and their passion for exploration and new experiences. Elderhostel is also expanding its offerings by adding new programs and a social networking feature on its Web site,

3. Read whatever you can – Books, newspapers and magazines – reading is a great way to keep your brain active and mind sharp. Plus, depending on what interests you, you might be able to learn something new. Visit your local library for a free resource to just about any literary work you’re interested in.

4. Have quality conversation daily – Engaging in social activity is a great way to keep your brain active, plus it increases quality of life. See if there is a community group of your peers that you could join – card club, book club, Rotary. Or, start volunteering for a cause that interests you – this will allow for plenty of interaction with people of different ages.

5. Learn something new – You’re never too old or too young to learn something new. Try taking an affordable community education class or look for free opportunities in your neighborhood. Learn to play an instrument, speak a new language, plant a garden or start a new hobby. You might be surprised with how much fun you have.

6. Switch up your routine – A good way to keep your mind sharp is to change up your routine. Try opposite-hand exercises like brushing your hair or teeth with the hand you don’t usually use or opening the door with your left hand instead of your right.

7. Get physically active – Moving your body and staying physically active can help with cognitive health. Physical movement increases blood flow to the brain and the act of walking, swimming, biking, etc., helps work the brain as it communicates with the body to move. Elderhostel offers many programs that allow boomers to stay active through exciting outdoor activities. For instance, an Exploritas program in Maine offers participants a chance to sea kayak, bike and hike while exploring Acadia National Park.

— Article courtesy of ARAcontent

Keeping Your Mind Sharp
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Keeping Your Mind Sharp
Keeping Your Mind Sharp as you age can ward off illnesses and make life more enjoyable.
Senior Alert Medical

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Jerry August 17, 2010 at 12:37 pm

My grandpa is 81 years old and still as sharp as a tack. He is constantly reading so much in fact that at times he bores us with tales of history. 🙂 He also is a big traveler and very often is not home. He went to Europe last year, and he and my grandma had a great time. He is a big game player and loves his Sunday newspaper crosswords, which are easy for him but near impossible for me. Thanks for the post.

Murray August 18, 2010 at 12:54 pm

I am 72 and my wife and I have made it a priority in the last 10 years to take a major vacation each year. This past year we traveled from our home in Idaho to Maine for a week. Besides being an absolutely beautiful state we were able to learn about the history of Maine and travel from it’s pristine forests to it’s amazing rocky coasts. It was an experience we will never forget and look forward to visiting not just Maine again but other places as well. In fact we are planning our next trip to Ireland.
Please all my wonderful other “Seniors” out there, if you can and are able to, please take the time to get out and do something.

Martin August 18, 2010 at 1:14 pm

I am an old man I will admit it and I loved this post. I am one who loves history and can’t think of a better way to strengthen my mind and spend my time then buried in a history book. I am currently reading about the History of the Pony Express and it is amazing. Reading I feel has kept me sane and stable these past years and I hope that as the years progress I will continue to lose myself in books.

Terrance August 19, 2010 at 1:48 pm

I much like the other people have posted comments am considered old or senior. I have found that being physically active has helped me stay alert, healthy and happy. I run 2 miles everyday in the morning, and then walk at night. This routine of getting out and doing something active has beside made me feel better, has allowed me to get in shape, or at least in shape for someone of my age 68. 🙂

Kenneth August 20, 2010 at 1:43 pm

I, much like Martin, am a history nut and find nothing more relaxing and gratifying than reading a book in my armchair. I have all ready finished one book this month on the Declaration of Independence, and am just starting a new one on the Constitution. Reading has really been a great blessing to me as I feel sharp, alert and current with today’s modern world. Even if I don’t completely understand it.

Peggy August 21, 2010 at 2:56 pm

Bookclubs are what has kept me in the social scene (if that is what you want to call a bunch of 60 year old women talking book together). Our club meets every Tuesday where besides talking about the current book we are reading or read. We also just talk about our lives, husbands, families and grandkids. It is very fullfilling, and I look forward to it anxiously each week. Book Clubs or any club for that matter is a great way to keep your mind sharp.

Sue Ann August 22, 2010 at 3:59 pm

You recommended trying something new. Well I am commenting on a blog post, which is something that I never have done before. It is strange that I am doing it, but also fun (if I do say). This will I hope be something I do on a more regular basis, but because I am all about trying to stay young or feel young.

Henry August 22, 2010 at 4:08 pm

My friends and I get together to play cards each weekend and have done so for the past few years. We also like to invite over our grandsons who fill us in on the most current news. Even though we may not all fully understand what is going on we try our best not to dismiss it and be open minded as possible. It seems strange but I it blows my grandkids minds when I know what they are talking about.

Norman August 23, 2010 at 12:07 pm

Getting outside and doing something has been a goal of mine since my wife died two years ago. I am seventy nine and I feel that being physically active has prolonged my life more than if I had just sat around watching TV and grieving. I run on my treadmill when the weather is bad, and get outside and walk or run whenever the sun is shining.

Ed August 24, 2010 at 11:18 am

I am 81 and have an iPhone! Yes, I know it may be hard to believe but I feel having an iPhone has opened up a whole new world of information to be, that I can access in a number of seconds. Granted my favorite APPS are history and news related but regardless the iPhone I feel has kept me close to not just what is happening today but my grandkids think I’m pretty cool too.

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