Keeping your mind active, it’s all in what you do…
Do you love playing board games? Maybe a bit of scrabble or chess is your preference? A widely held belief is that as we grow older, it is important to keep one’s mind active – and so playing such mentally stimulating games can be a good idea and certainly can’t do any harm.
Taking up new activities may bring benefits such as increased engagement, in fact, you could say it’s a ‘no-brainer’ to train your brain!
The idea is that we should exercise our grey matter more often, to keep our brain in peak condition, in the same way as we do a physical workout to keep our bodies in top shape.
‘Use it or lose it’ is one theory about delaying cognitive ageing - recent studies have found people who do more mentally stimulating activities have better-thinking skills in older age.
The charity, Age UK cautions that evidence for specific 'brain training' programmes remains inconclusive, however, and highlights research finding limited evidence that such activities can enhance our overall thinking skills in senior years.
The charity indicates that there is some weight to the belief that the most beneficial activities for us in later life might be doing things we’ve never done before.
So trying new activities may be the way forward for improving alertness and general mental wellbeing.
Go challenge yourself in a new way, like learning a new language or a musical instrument, or take up a productive hobby such as digital photography or sewing.
Such hobbies resulted in better memory performance in participants, according to one larger scale study.
Age UK concludes that they cannot say for certain, which activities may definitely help keep your thinking skills sharp, but doing things we enjoy are important for quality of life and general wellbeing.
Taking up new activities may bring additional benefits, such as increased engagement with other groups of people - so playing cards or board games is a good opportunity to interact in a fun way with anyone, from friends of a similar age to young grandchildren.