Staying fit has much to do with being mentally active and not just physically active. Being physically active indeed helps keep you mentally active. However, having your cognitive faculties working well can enhance your quality of life. It improves the overall outlook of life and thereby the well-being. We were delighted to note that an overwhelming 75.7% of seniors who responded to our survey last week said they consciously engage in brain-stimulating activities.
Interestingly, 73.5% of seniors said they regularly read to keep themselves mentally stimulated. However, the activity that found its way to second place quite surprised us – using technology (68.1%)! Indeed, this breaks the myth that seniors avoid using technology. It appears our seniors find technology brain-stimulating, and rightly so! A point to note is that mentally stimulating activities may differ from person to person. So, while some seniors find spiritual and religious activities mentally stimulating, some watch educational videos. Considering that 50.9% of seniors admitted they noticed some changes in their cognitive abilities recently, let us look at some surprising steps that help seniors cope.
- Change your diet
Hey, wait! Something is wrong. We are not talking about physical activity. What’s diet got to do with mental stimulation? You are in for a surprise. Studies have proved that diet has a link to cognitive capabilities. One study found that people who followed Mediterranean diet had a 20% less chance of having thinking and memory issues. As you may already be aware, this diet suggests you include lots of fruits, vegetables, fatty fish, olive oil, and a glass of wine! One Harvard study suggests fatty fish, tea and coffee, walnuts, and berries boost your brain. So, perhaps it’s time to change your diet and include these foods that can help you stay mentally active.
- Learn new skills
Seniors need to keep mentally active by learning new skills. It could be anything like hobbies, languages, educational degrees, etc. Age is no bar to learning. Some studies have found that learning to play a musical instrument is one of the best ways seniors can stay mentally active. So, what did you always want to do, play the guitar, the violin, the keyboard, or the tabla? Whatever it is, don’t let age hold you back! Sign up and learn to boost your cognitive capabilities.
Here is another surprising insight. Studies have proved that learning a foreign language can reduce the risk of dementia. Speaking more than one language opens more neural pathways in the brain, allowing for faster information processing, says science. It also improves memory retention. One study says that the ability to process multiple languages faster also makes a person a better multitasker.
- Use all your senses
A study aimed at understanding how seniors process information presented along with various senses had some interesting observations. Participating seniors saw emotionally neutral images with and without an accompanying odour. They could recollect the images better when accompanied by the odour, especially, when accompanied by pleasant smells! The study proved that using multiple senses keeps the brain active. Therefore, you could start playing some guessing games when eating new dishes as to what went into them. Or you could try a hand at activities involving more than one sense.
This suggestion may not be hard to believe, especially if you are a frequent traveller! If you don’t know yet, travel is good for mental health! Studies have proved that people who travel are happier and show positive emotions. It seems even the travel anticipation puts people in a better mood. This good mood results from activities in the hippocampus and the striatum, the parts of the brain associated with novelty and reward. It seems travel can lower stress and anxiety to keep you happier and healthier.
Another perspective to this perspective is that when we travel, we move out of our routine and face new stimuli. So, the brain is forced to accept and process the new things we experience, keeping it active. It seems travel can also help delay aging and keep cognitive diseases like Alzheimer’s at bay.
With so much going for it, there is no reason not to travel now that the pandemic is deemed to have become endemic. And if you are wondering about the rigmaroles seniors face during travel, here is something for you. Samarth tours are designed for seniors and are fully customisable to suit your needs. So, pack your bags, and help yourself to stay mentally fit.