The benefits of physical health are well known. But do you know about the importance of cognitive health?
Physical exercise keeps you from losing strength. Similarly, cognitive exercise prevents memory loss.
Use it or lose it
Apply the use it or lost it idea to cognitive health. This means you should regularly work out your brain, just like you would exercise a muscle to keep it from weakening.
Brain workouts are mental challenges. This looks different for everyone, but it’s a good idea to avoid doing the same things the same way all the time.
If your goal is to strengthen your mind, research suggests you should seek out new experiences.
Bonus points if it’s an activity that initially sounds complex or requires problem-solving.
Try these simple activities to exercise your brain and help prevent memory loss:
Do something unfamiliar
- Read a book on a topic you don’t know much about
- Shop at a different grocery store
- Drive a different route to work
- Try a new recipe
- Go to a restaurant outside your usual tastes
Physical exercise can count as cognitive exercise
- Go swimming
- Take a daily walk
Stimulate your brain
- Play games that require strategy
- Have coffee with a friend
- Use a paper map to find your destination
- Take a class to learn a new skill
- Challenge your grandchildren to a spelling bee
Activities to strengthen your brain
- Do math without a calculator
- Learn how to complete small projects or minor home repairs yourself
- Spell names backward or memorize your friends’ phone numbers while waiting in line
A whole-brain workout
How do these activities give your mind a workout? They engage different parts of the brain.
Preparing a new meal engages the frontal lobe.
It requires you to pay attention, plan, follow instructions and coordinate the order and timing of steps.
Home projects also employ the frontal lobe.
These projects also challenge the cerebellum, which is your command center for balance and physical movement.
Participating in an exercise class engages the parietal lobe.
You’ll have to receive and process information from the different parts of the body and work on spatial awareness.
Spelling names backward and memorizing phone numbers engages the temporal lobes.
The temporal lobe controls your language functions.
Protect your head
There’s a link between head injuries and Alzheimer’s disease. Take precautions to prevent injuries and protect your head.
Wear a motorcycle helmet
Wear a helmet when bicycling, skiing, motorcycling or participating in other high-risk activities.
A report from Johns Hopkins Medicine found motorcycle riders who wear helmets were 65% less likely to suffer a traumatic brain injury.
Get specialized care for memory loss
If your loved one has Alzheimer’s disease or related dementia, consider memory care. Memory care is offered in secure, homelike care units.
Our team provides personalized programs to all of our residents and emphasizes meaningful activities and interactions.
Learn how memory care can help your loved one by talking to an expert.