In our previous blog post, we pointed to dementia as one of the most common illnesses for adults, older adults and seniors. As you probably know by now, the main causes of dementia narrow down to the inability of the brain to participate in certain activities.
This doesn't mean that as you grow older you won't think too much and therefore get dementia – instead – it means that adults over 40 and 50 years old need to focus on mental activities and improve the health of the brain.
It is evident that as we age, our brain function needs proper maintenance. There is a continued emphasis on finding certain activities that would prevent or delay any disorders of aging such as dementia. However, mental activity is of paramount importance not just because of these disorders but for general health and well-being.
The Best Mind-Engaging Activities For Adults
According to a study by the New England Journal of Medicine, it doesn't actually matter so much what types of activities adults engage in. Instead, the key is for every adult to participate in as many new and different activities that will encourage them to use their brains. While reading and writing help in keeping the brain active, they are activities that everyone is used to. We do them all the time. We are looking for things that will challenge us. And, no, watching TV doesn’t count.
So, finding a new hobby, learning a new language, playing new games and challenging the mind in exciting ways is what every adult should do in order to boost their mental activity. Below, we are listing some examples of great mind-engaging activities:
- Crossword puzzles – Even though you ignored this section in the newspapers, it is a great way to boost your mental focus and start filling out the boxes with letters and words. There are lots of sites online now that also have Crosswords and other puzzles like Sudoku, KenKen etc.
- Painting and drawing – It doesn't matter if you are artistic or not. Painting and drawing will trigger the creative side of your brain and tap into a whole new section. Who knows, you might be a true modern-day Picasso?
- Arts and crafts – Participating in arts and crafts can also be a great way for every adult to engage their minds all while improving their hand and eye coordination.
- Bingo – There is a big reason why adults love bingo. According to research, playing bingo enhances your brain activity and lets you keep track of the numbers (especially when they are doing them on several cards at once).
- Board games and cards – Cards are fun and board games are even more exciting. From Monopoly to Scrabble, Solitaire or Bridge, there are so many great examples that you can start playing with your kids or grandkids.
- Telling stories of your life – Recollecting all the fabulous life stories is not always easy. Luckily, the new generations can hear and learn a lot of things from such stories. Aside from memory, you can also try writing your memories down in the form of keepsakes for the newer generations in the future.
- Computer activities – In an era where technology is a hot topic and new devices are announced every day, focusing your mind on a specific app or a device can help you make most of your brain function. Even though most adults resist technology, it is definitely something we all need to adapt to. There is even an App that you can get for your smart phone called Tetris was built specifically to stimulate the brain and help prevent dementia. You can pick it up via either the Apple or Android App stores. What a time to be alive, right?
- Brain and memory boosters – Playing games like Memory is great for stimulating your brain to do its best and find new ways to solve a problem.
- Brain supplements (now commonly referred to as nootropics) may be something you might consider. We've written a guide to the best brain supplements for boosting your cognitive power and helping reduce short term memory loss.
Pairing The Physical With The Mental Activities
A New England Journal of Medicine study says that the majority of the physical activities do not improve brain function. However, there is one physical activity that does that: dancing. [source]
Dancing is very simple. You simply can't go wrong with it. It can be as simple as doing a little of it in the living room after lunch or as organized as ballroom dance lessons. The goal here is to do new mental activities and combine them with dancing whenever you get an opportunity.
What's important to note is that a lot of these activities are done in pairs or groups for the best results. This way, they do not only provide mental stimulation – but also encourage you to bond and build social connections with other people. Having friends and enjoying your life is super important for staying young.
Play Is Not Just Essential For Kids – It's An Important Source Of Relaxation For Adults Too
Play can be tremendously beneficial to your mental health too – and serve as the ideal source of relaxation, brain stimulation and focus.
Play can add joy to your life. It can relieve you from stress. It can supercharge your learning or connect you to other people around you. Ultimately, it can make your work more productive and pleasurable.
Whether you engage in such activities with your partner, friends, co-workers, pets or children, adult play is a time to forget about work and commitments and be social in an unstructured and creative way.
So, the best way to make the most of it is to focus your play on the actual experience instead of accomplishing any goal. In other words, the best way to boost mental function is to forget about the mental function and just have fun. See each of these games and activities as something simple that relaxes and entertains you. Just have fun!