My piece for the Chester County Independent on “Exercises for the Mind:”
Books filled with puzzles. CDs loaded with educational quizzes. Step-by-step guides to avoiding dementia. All of these may be helpful, but exercises for brain health do not necessarily cost money. Seniors have the power within to utilize resources in our lives that are necessary to maintain brain function. Use a variety of activities to play mind games that stimulate learning. Have fun – enjoy what you do! Follow these ideas to keep your mind sharp and alert.
Exercise Your Creativity
It’s something we all possess – it’s your imagination! Look in your food pantry and think of ways to put a delicious meal together from three or four ingredients. Take a walk and observe how a neighbor has designed their landscaping. Could you come
up with a better idea? Before taking a trip, look at a map and find another route that will take you to your destination.
Try another Way
Instead of performing an ordinary task the usual way, try another approach. Which side of your face do you wash or put makeup on first? Reserve this process. If you’re right-handed, try eating with your left. Use visual clues and gestures to communicate with a spouse or friend. Tie your shoes with your eyes closed. Identify other daily tasks and come up with alternate ways to perform these.
Gain Skills through Reading
Can you name a skill you’ve always wanted to know about? Local libraries have books on hobbies, crafts, music and art; and check-out is free. Kindle has thousands of books to download at a fraction of the cost of a paperback – and often these are free for a period of time. Learning a new language has never been easier.
Today, seniors can find online help with foreign languages that will benefit travelers or for personal satisfaction. One of the easiest programs is www.pimsleur.com, a set of CDs to listen to at home. Alternatively, register for a non-credit language program at a local college or university.
Exercise for Mental Alertness
It has been said, “A body in motion, stays in motion.” Seniors who continue to view exercise as part of their daily routine not only receive physical gain, but mental benefits as well. Exercise produces an increase of blood flow and stimulation to the entire body – as well as our head. Regardless of our age, we need healthy blood vessels to transport oxygen and nutrient-rich blood to the brain. One exercise that seniors can enjoy and continue is the simple act of walking. You may enjoy having a companion join you for a daily walk. Start a walking routine and continue it daily for multiple profits.
Yes, seniors can choose numerous ways to exercise their brain by using what they have in their home and community, at little – or, no cost.
Carolyn Tomlin is a Jackson, Tennessee-based author that has been writing and publishing since 1988. She has authored 19 books and more than 4,000 articles in magazines such as Entrepreneur, Kansas City News, American Profile, Tennessee Home & Farm, Home Life, Mature Living, ParentLife and many others.