Brain Fitness And The Senior Population

Brain Fitness And The Senior Population

Growing old can be a scary thought for some people, as they fear that their bodies and minds won’t be as active as what they used to be. Along with worrying conditions like Alzheimer’s and dementia, other everyday functions like memory and concentration could also start to deteriorate.

The brain has been known to lose some function in our older years and has actually been shown to start losing its performance power in our mid 20’s. Therefore, it’s essential that the elderly take action in order to slow down and reverse this aging so that they can feel themselves returning to a younger state mentally.

Brain fitness and the senior population has never been more important as we are learning every day about how just a little bit of exercise each day can help. Just as you would focus on getting physical exercise every day, you should also be focusing on exercising the mind, and this isn’t any truer than it is for the elderly.

Seniors And Brain Deterioration

Senior Woman Holding Brain In Hand

It’s no secret that our brain changes as we get older, but it’s not just the feeling that we’re forgetting things or aren’t as quick as we used to be, it’s actually been proven. Science knows that as we get older, our brains shrink, and in the process, they lose their cognition and performance.

Other negative effects include a rise in the incidence of dementia, stroke, and memory loss. This is due to the changes in our hormones and the neurotransmitters in our brain. There are many things working against us as we age, but studies have shown that there are protective factors we can use to slow down and reduce these risks.

In addition to a healthy diet, physical exercise, and reduced intake of alcohol, the most important thing we can do in our old age is keeping our minds active. Things like brain exercises, education, and work can all help to keep your brain healthy and decrease the risk of these conditions or your cognition further decreasing.

Older individuals often worry about their memory slipping as they are concerned about the early signs of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, however, this is just a normal part of aging and doesn’t necessarily mean anything more sinister.

For those who have been diagnosed with something more impactful like dementia, brain fitness for seniors would still be beneficial to take part in.

Why Brain Exercises Work

Working Brain

Brain exercises have no age limit on who they can help, and the elderly would benefit especially from them. Science has proven time and time again that even though we age, our brains still remain “plastic”. This means they can still learn new things and adapt to changes, contrary to popular belief.

Brain exercises help your brain to do something different and target areas and regions of the brain that might not normally get used. Just like running on a treadmill or lifting weights, every minute of effort we put into exercising our minds will make them healthier, and there’s no limit to the age of brains that can benefit.

As we get older, there are some changes that occur in the brain that cause it to slow down, including:

  • Shrinking of parts of the brain that are related to learning and other everyday mental activities
  • Inflammation of the brain as a result of injury or illness
  • Reduced communication between neurons in the important regions of the brain and reduced blood flow in the brain

While brain exercises might not assist with the injury or illness that occurs in the body, it can certainly help with improving neurological communication and working out those parts of the brain responsible for memory, concentration, and cognition.

Simple Brain Fitness For Seniors

Senior Man Reading A Book

The good news is, brain health and fitness for seniors doesn’t have to be hard work. With just 15 minutes a day, they’ll be doing so much for the health of their brains and will start to notice the results in a week or so. These are some simple tips for seniors wanting to start brain training:

  • Brain fitness games: There are many fun brain games available suitable for seniors that are both educational and fun
  • Puzzles: Crossword puzzles, jigsaw puzzles, anything that gets your brain active and thinking each day will be helpful
  • Joining a choir: Enquire about community choir groups and get involved, as studies have shown learning to sing can be great for your brain
  • Recall tests: Do some simple recall tests of your own by covering up numbers or words and trying to remember them
  • New physical activity: Consider a new physical activity or sport like yoga or water aerobics. There are many senior-friendly activities that would work
  • Take up a hobby: Any hobby that works your hand-eye coordination is going to be hugely beneficial for your brain. Learning new skills is also a great way to get it working

Keeping Our Minds Young

Senior Couple Smiling

Sadly, there’s nothing we can do about our bodies getting older, but that doesn’t mean we have to let our minds go as well. Keeping your brain healthy and active is the key to retaining its power, and there’s no need to succumb to memory loss and a lack of concentration just because you’re getting older.

There are now so many studies that show the worth of brain exercises seniors and offer an easy way to work out your mind and keep it active. By placing just as much importance on mental exercise as we do physical, we can ensure that aging doesn’t have to mean we lose our brain power, memory, and ability to learn new things.

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