We all have memory lapses and it seems retirement living does not help our cause. Studies show that the earlier people retire, the more quickly their memories decline. Keeping your mind engaged with complex tasks and daily challenges is important. According to the Center on Longevity at Stanford University, “work provides an important component of the environment that keeps people functioning optimally.”
Here are some ways to keep your mind sharp, even if you don’t get up and go to work every day:
Be a bookworm and read!
Reading is a great activity because it’s not only relaxing, it also allows you to open your mind to new and exciting information. You can get lost in a fiction book or decide to learn about new topics you never had time to look into before you retired. The possibilities are endless! Reading stimulates your mind by engaging your brain and forcing you to imagine the pictures that go along with what you’re reading. Reading also keeps your memory sharp by letting your brain form new neural pathways as you keep track of what you’re reading.
When you keep your body moving, you keep your mind moving as well. A study from the National Institutes of Health found that people who are sedentary are 2.5 times more likely to develop dementia compared to those who exercise. Exercise helps to drastically reduce the aging effects of the brain by strengthening the brain synapses that can weaken with age.
Have fun with puzzles
You may have never had time to sit down and do a puzzle when you were working, but now you do!When you do a jigsaw puzzle or even Sudoku, you are forced to use both sides of your brain, thus keeping your mind sharp. When both sides of your brain need to make connections in order to solve a puzzle you increase your ability to learn and to remember things.
Writing is not only a way to keep your mind sharp, but it’s also a fun and creative way to express yourself. When you write you’re combining language with complex thoughts and patterns, forcing your brain to focus and remember things. Studies have also shown that writing stimulates different parts of the brain, resulting in more brain power. Retirees can take the opportunity to document their life’s story for family members to read too. This will not only keep the mind sharp but will also leave a legacy for future generations.
When you volunteer you give your brain a chance to try new things. This keeps the brain stimulated and active. Studies have shown that those who volunteer have a 47% lower chance of developing Alzheimer’s disease. When you volunteer, you also meet new people and engage in new conversations. This can also keep the brain sharp while warding off feelings of depression and loneliness. Volunteering also keeps the body healthy by keeping the body moving so you also reap the benefits of exercise on your brain.
Retirement can be both rewarding and relaxing. Stay healthy and keep your brain active so you can enjoy your retirement for years to come.