Keeping the brain young is so important that the results can actually be seen in medical diagnostic images. Exercise in human beings increases a protein in the brain. It promotes the growth and formation of new neurons and most importantly, it increases the size of the part of the brain that is linked to improved memory.
Gray matter isn’t just a saying. The brain actually does have gray matter and white matter. They work together to optimize brain function. Physical activity benefits both gray and white matter and is the reason why exercise is the number one way to keep the brain young. The question remains, how does one remain active in the winter?
Here are some ideas that everyone can use.
Arts and crafts aren’t just for the young. Seniors can practice a craft or learn a craft- both are lots of fun. Seniors who already know a craft enjoy going to the story to buy the supplies meandering through the aisles and deciding what project to start next. If the senior would like to learn a craft there are many starter kits available at stores. Senior centers, community groups and churches often offer free craft classes. It can be lots of fun walking through a store and getting exercise while shopping. Craft time can include healthy snacks, music and laughter.
Outings can incorporate exercise as well. An afternoon at a nearby art museum or gallery is a great way to spend time during the winter months . Check websites or with the local community center for exhibitions and finish off the trip by visiting a restaurant for lunch or a cafe for dessert. Many art institutes offer classes in different art mediums, such as clay molding, sculpture, oil painting, drawing or watercolors.
Many community centers offer classes in Pilates or water aerobics that combine fun and fitness. An afternoon of bowling is great indoor exercise and there is no need to be good at it! Bumpers and a ball guide make bowling fun for everyone.
Many older adults may have fun learning how to use technology. Whether using a tablet, a computer, or a smart phone, there are a ton of mentally engaging games and activities.
Seniors might enjoy playing tourist for the day and exploring their hometown like a traveler might. Younger members of the family might have fun joining in and becoming a “hometown tourist.” This type of activity can be expanded too.
Photos can become a scrapbooking exercise and grandchildren can write about it for school. Grandchildren might also enjoy making videos of the day, creating a valuable memoir that the family will cherish forever.