There’s no doubt that wisdom comes with age, but sometimes that wisdom comes with a side effect of forgetfulness. Your brain, much like any other part of your body, needs constant exercise to stay in tip-top shape. Fortunately, many of the best memory boosting exercises are just as entertaining as they are stimulating. Here are ten fun ways to give your memory a healthy workout.
1. Board Games
Whether you’re 5 or 105, it’s hard to be “board” when there’s a board game on the table, and there’s no shortage of options to choose from. Whether you’re playing a classic like chess or checkers or discovering a new favorite, a good board game keeps your brain on its toes. And thanks to the “jumbo” versions of many popular board games that can be found in stores and online, there’s no need to let farsightedness or difficulty handling small pieces prevent you from getting in on the fun. Scheduling a game night with your partner, friends, or family is both a perfect cure for boredom and an intensive exercise for your memory.
2. Card Games
With a combination of hearts, diamonds, clubs, and spades, fun is always in the cards!
Card games like poker and rummy occupy your brain just as well as board games do, and if you’re looking for a game designed specifically to strengthen your memory, there’s no better choice than concentration. You can play this matching game with ordinary cards or spice things up for younger grandchildren with special decks featuring pictures of their favorite animals or cartoon characters. And if you don’t have any physical cards on hand, you can always play online. A web-based version of solitaire can be found here.
3. Video Games
You probably don’t have any of the latest video game consoles, but your grandchildren, nieces, or nephews might. The next time you’re visiting a younger relative who loves to get their game on, consider asking them to teach you how to play some of their favorites. It takes a surprising amount of skill, and your brain will get a good workout!
3. Word Games
An advanced vocabulary is linked to a strong memory, and word games are the perfect way to keep your linguistic skills sharp. Get competitive by playing Scrabble or Boggle with loved ones or enjoy some alone time with a crossword, jumble, or word search. Try incorporating word games into your everyday routine by doing the puzzles in the newspaper or using this online daily word search.
Sudoku has exploded in popularity in recent years, and it’s easy to understand why. The rules are simple, but completing a puzzle can be extremely challenging, and there are few things more satisfying than seeing a grid all filled up. It should come as no surprise that sudoku is great for your memory, as it requires constant attention to detail.
5. Jigsaw Puzzles
Much like sudoku, jigsaw puzzles fill you with a sense of pride upon seeing the finished
product, and with the many varieties available, it should be easy to find one with a picture that you love. Whether you’re working with 100 pieces or 1000, sitting down with a nice puzzle is both relaxing and mentally stimulating, and it can be enjoyed alone or as a collaborative effort. If you have trouble with small pieces, you can buy a jumbo puzzle or piece one together on your computer.
Studies indicate that listening to your favorite music is just as great for the mind as it is for the ears. In addition to lowering stress and providing motivation, music activates parts of the brain linked with memory, so crank up the volume (just as long as you make sure not to bother the neighbors)!
While you’re blasting those tunes, put on some comfy shoes and get your groove on! Exercise of any kind of beneficial to the brain in addition to the rest of the body, and research links dancing, specifically, to a lowered risk of dementia. Following an organized dance routine is especially engaging for the brain, since it takes a lot of mental effort to remember all the steps.
Walking is another fantastic way to improve your brain health through exercise. Taking a 40-minute walk a few times every week has been found to benefit the area of the brain associated with memory, and it provides you with the opportunity to enjoy some natural scenery and chat with your neighbors or a walking partner.
Like many things in life, keeping your memory in good shape is best as a group effort. Spending quality time with others not only requires the mental sharpness necessary to carry on an engaging conversation, but also does the equally important job of improving your mood. Whether you’re enjoying one of the activities on this list, practicing a different hobby, or even doing some household chores or running errands, just about anything is better with company. So, try to find some time in your schedule to meet up with your favorite people. The more the merrier!