A Brain Fitness Program is a program to get your brain in better shape and is designed to drive beneficial chemical, physical and functional change in the brain. Multiple studies have shown a scientifically valid average improvement of more than 10 years in auditory, memory and cognitive function. In this article we’ll explore the benefits of brain fitness programs, and provide tips for improving your brains health.
Brain Health & Well-Being
Brain health is best supported by actions across three pillars of well-being:
- Body – physical health is closely tied to brain function
- Mind – intellectual stimulation is essential for brain health
- Spirit – emotional well-being is essential for brain health
Group Activity Benefits On Brain Health
Research supports that engagement in structured group activities provides cognitive wellness support by challenging our ability to process quickly and be nimble in our thinking. Our programs universally incorporate the power of positive social support.
Any mentally stimulating activity should help to build up your brain. Read, take courses, try “mental gymnastics,” such as word puzzles or math problems Experiment with things that require manual dexterity as well as mental effort, such as drawing, painting, and other crafts
Mental exercise is just as critical as physical exercise in keeping your brain fit and healthy. Mental exercises may improve your brain’s functioning and promote new brain cell growth, decreasing your likelihood of developing dementia. Like your muscles, you have to use your brain or you lose it.
Experts recommend sticking to brain training that involves real-world activities. Exercises to strengthen brain function should offer novelty and challenge. “Almost any silly suggestion can work,” says David Eagleman, PhD, neuroscientist and assistant professor at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. “Drive home via a different route; brush your teeth with your opposite hand. The brain works through associations [which is why it’s easier to memorize lyrics to a song than it is to try and remember the same words without music], so the more senses you involve the better.”
10 Tips For Improving Brain Health
Below are 10 tips and brain exercise ideas to help improve your brains health.
- Test your recall. Make a list — of grocery items, things to do, or anything else that comes to mind — and memorize it. An hour or so later, see how many items you can recall. Make items on the list as challenging as possible for the greatest mental stimulation.
- Let the music play. Learn to play a musical instrument or join a choir. Studies show that learning something new and complex over a longer period of time is ideal for the aging mind.
- Do math in your head. Figure out problems without the aid of pencil, paper, or computer; you can make this more difficult — and athletic — by walking at the same time.
- Take a cooking class. Learn how to cook a new cuisine. Cooking uses a number of senses: smell, touch, sight, and taste, which all involve different parts of the brain.
- Learn a foreign language. The listening and hearing involved stimulates the brain. What’s more, a rich vocabulary has been linked to a reduced risk for cognitive decline.
- Create word pictures. Visualize the spelling of a word in your head, then try and think of any other words that begin (or end) with the same two letters.
- Draw a map from memory. After returning home from visiting a new place, try to draw a map of the area; repeat this exercise each time you visit a new location.
- Challenge your taste buds. When eating, try to identify individual ingredients in your meal, including subtle herbs and spices.
- Refine your hand-eye abilities. Take up a new hobby that involves fine-motor skills, such as knitting, drawing, painting, assembling a puzzle, etc.
- Learn a new sport. Start doing an athletic exercise that utilizes both mind and body, such as yoga, golf, or tennis.
Orchard at Brookhaven is a senior living community in Atlanta that’s committed to exploring all ways of supporting healthy living as we age. We offer many opportunities for our residents to engage in brain healthy activities. For more details about our programs please contact us.