As we age, we sometimes worry about not being able to remember things and if our brains will always function properly. Here’s some great news: studies have shown physical exercise helps us maintain a healthy brain. It is believed that this occurs due to many factors including improved blood flow to the brain. A new report also shows that seniors who stay socially active have reduced incidence of dementia.
Consider: when you go on a walk outside, you must look where you are going, have strength to keep you upright, and think about stepping over curbs or small objects that may be in your way. A lot of interaction with your brain and muscles occurs to move your legs, your eyes to look for what’s in front of you, and your heart to deliver more blood to the muscles so that walking can occur. Research has shown that an all-around exercise program composed of strength, aerobic fitness, balance, and flexibility is most effective at improving cognitive function.
We know that regular exercise has a variety of benefits including improving your mood, reducing anxiety and stress, and helping us sleep better, which all lead to better cognitive ability. Other known ways to maintain a healthy brain includes performing “brain games” such as word finds, crossword puzzles, or Sudoku puzzles. Playing bridge, cribbage, canasta, a friendly game of poker or other card games make you think and also interact socially with others. The time is now, so let’s get started! Be social: get with your friends and go for a daily walk around your neighborhood or local park; find a group of friends to play cards with or work on the daily crossword, Jumble, or Sudoku puzzles.
Here at Sterling Estates, we offer a variety of programs, activities, and resources that can help improve brain function. This includes daily exercise classes such as Tai Chi, seated and standing aerobic and strength classes, water aerobics, and Zumba. We also offer the Dakim BrainFitness program, which engages residents in easy-to-use, personalized mental workouts on a regular basis. We stay very social throughout the day: we gather at mealtime; we have lots of differing activities, educational speakers, musical performances, parties, and happy hours, etc. We take trips to cultural events; plays, symphonies and museums. We can’t stop the aging process, but we can try our best to slow it down!