Tips to Stay Mentally Sharp

By Christopher Peralta, Wellness Coach, EmblemHealth

This year, September 27–October 3 marks the observance of the International Council on Aging’s Active Aging Week. While this week is intended to help older adults experience physical activity in a safe and fun way, staying mentally sharp is equally important. While activities like reading will keep your brain functioning at a high level, there are other exercises and games that can help mental dexterity. Here are a few tips for keeping your mind sharp.

Use an app. Brain-training apps like Luminosity and Fit Brains contain a range of activities from memory tests to rearranging numbers. A quick brain quiz can get you ready for the challenges of your day. Along with great short-term benefits, these apps can help your brain long term.

Play games. Card games and board games are a great way to keep your brain in shape. Whether playing a brisk game of speed chess, relaxing with friends over poker or passing the time with a game of solitaire or Scrabble, games like these can really help your mind stay sharp.

Move around. Exercise increases blood flow and oxygen to the brain. Simple exercises like push-ups, riding a bike or dancing to a few of your favorite songs can keep your brain in tip-top shape.

Turn off the screen. Too much time watching television or on the computer can have negative effects. The television does all of the thinking, forcing the brain into an inactive state. Just like any muscle in your body, if the brain is inactive for too long, it cannot perform well.

Get to bed. To keep your brain sharp, shoot for 7-9 hours of sleep per night. Studies show that a lack of sleep can actually shrink one’s brain, so get your proper rest.

Sound off in the comments how you exercise your brain!