Maintaining brain health as you age will help with clarity, memory and your ability to reason and make decisions. Brain fitness is achievable through a combination of diet and exercise, including mental exercise. When you add brain fitness into your overall fitness routine, you’ll notice an increase in your ability to be engaged and full of energy. Brain fitness includes a multitude of activities from physical exercise, video games, puzzles and new experiences. When you think about brain fitness consider:
- The food you consume – does your diet include Omega-3 fatty acids like fish and flaxseeds?
- The words you use – are your words and thoughts positive? Is your self-talk kind and upbeat? Our brains depend on positive encouragement. “When I am frustrated I sit down and journal what I am grateful for,” said Life Enrichment Director Jerri Lynn Konner at Eskaton Village Grass Valley. “At our community we observe Thankful Thursdays with positive readings.”
- A good night's sleep – give your brain a rest to help with clarity and your energy level.
- Stay hydrated – avoid getting a UTI by drinking plenty of water. “When someone is dehydrated, urinary tract infections are common,” said Jerri Lynn. “A sign of a UTI may be confusion.”
- Memorize numbers – counting can be therapeutic. Whether you memorize the number of steps from your kitchen to your living room, or the birth dates of each of your grandkids, numbers can help with how much info you can absorb and remember.
- Try new things – do you do the same activities over and over again? Get out of your routine and get a new perspective. Try going a new way to the grocery store.
- Give your brain a workout – Read a book, write a story or do a crossword puzzle. Jerri Lynn encourages residents to join a Scrabble, Sudoku or Jeopardy group.
- Solve problems – puzzles are one way to give your brain a work out, but did you know that solving problems also increases creativity, concentration and improves memory?
- Practice mindfulness – be present and stimulate your mind through mantras and mediation.
- Be social – being engaged in conversation, listening and responding are great ways to keep your brain fit. Jerri Lynn says, “Meet with other people, don’t isolate yourself.” She encourages seniors to get outside their apartments and homes. Being alone can increase feelings of depression and loneliness.
Try new things. At Eskaton we have so many things available at the lodges and village. “I try to get people to get outside their comfort zone,” said Jerri Lynn. “All it takes is one new activity to improve brain fitness. We have one Eskaton resident who became more positive after joining a Scrabble group. She is really good at Scrabble. She is laughing more and more engaged. She’s even made friends.”
Learn more about brain fitness by joining us for “Meet and Greet Your Brain” at Arden Fair on March 21 at 8:30 AM in the upstairs food court. Speaker Michael Hirsh, founder of The Brain Gymnasium, will teach practical ways to intentionally give your brain a worthwhile workout. Free cholesterol check and continental breakfast starting at 8 AM. Visit www.eskaton.org/insidetrack for more info.