You know how important exercise is for your physical health. Keeping your bones, muscles and cardiovascular system strong goes a long way to promote good balance, heart health and contribute to a longer life.
But did you know there are steps you can take to keep your brain fit as well?
You’ll want to pay as much attention to your brain health as you do your body. Working together, a healthy combination can contribute greatly to living a healthy and meaningful life.
The verdict is still out on whether using brain apps (games and programs downloaded to a mobile device) actually can have lasting effects. But caution is advised as many companies promote permanent results without the testing or research to back up the claims.
Some studies have found improvement in a specific skill being used in the game or activity but it may not lead to improved memory or other long term brain benefits. It’s also not certain whether a certain app leads to an improvement any different from one learned in a more traditional way.
While research on brain training continues, according to an article in Scientific American there has been evidence that certain exercises can improve basic cognitive skills but acknowledges some scientists still have reservations.
One area that remains under discussion is whether brain training benefits can actually extend to your daily life. Another area where opinions differ is whether memory training can help those who aren’t already relatively high functioning or whether it can help everyone in the same way.
The advantages of keeping your brain active, on the other hand, seem to have more consensus. Studies continue but the following benefits are believed to result from keeping your brain stimulated:
Again, more research is needed to reach a conclusive answer but there have been a number of studies showing there are benefits to keeping the brain active. Thinking skills may be less likely to decline and it might also help slow down memory loss, according to WebMD.
Although exercising the mind may delay declines in thinking skills for those with dementia, once a person started having Alzheimer’s symptoms, studies revealed the decline sped up. Although it’s also possible that the symptoms were delayed.
Research continues but one study that involved adults 65 + undergoing brain-training sessions for five to six weeks showed improvement in memory, reasoning and speed of processing information that lasted for at least five years.
Consider trying some of these activities to keep your brain challenged.
Either of these activities will keep your brain stimulated and can be fun and rewarding as well. Maybe you’d like to visit another country and speak the language conversationally if not fluently. Or have you always wanted to play the piano or guitar? Your brain can greatly benefit from learning and processing this type of information.
Getting together with friends and family or taking part in other social events is good for both your body and mind, according to the Mayo Clinic.
As social animals, we function better when we’re in a community. There’s evidence of sharpened memory and cognitive skills when we socialize, as well as an increased sense of happiness and well-being.
New information stimulates the brain. Once it has mastered a subject, you need to go on to another challenge in order for your mind to fully benefit.
So take a class, learn a new skill or join a discussion group that challenges your point of view. Not only will you expand your mind, the process of considering new information and analyzing its validity is powerful work for your brain.
One of the best activities you can participate in for your brain health is physical exercise. Getting your body in shape also provides double the benefits as it provides a cognitive boost as well.
The same exercises to reduce your risk for heart disease, stroke and diabetes can also help protect your memory and thinking skills, according to Harvard Health Publishing at Harvard Medical School. Not only can physical activity reduce inflammation and stimulate chemicals that affect the health of brain cells, it can also improve your mood, sleep and reduce stress and anxiety.
How an independent living community can contribute to your brain health
The great news about an independent living community is that they are designed to include many of the features that contribute to a healthy brain.
Not only will you continue to have your own private residence and independence, but many communities include a fitness center so exercising could never be easier. And you’ll find several activities to keep your body and mind sharp.
Along with healthy and delicious dining choices, you’ll find many social events that make meeting neighbors and making new friends simple and natural.
You’ll discover many opportunities to boost both your physical and cognitive health at Ingleside’s Westminster at Lake Ridge Independent Living. Our community is designed to support you in aging well, including staying active, eating healthy and meeting and making great friends.
Take a look at what our vibrant community has to offer:
Please visit our website for more information or call (703) 420-7105 if you have any questions or would like to schedule a personalized tour today.