As physiotherapists, we always talk about keeping your physical body active. What is just as important though is keeping your mind active as well.
Our cognition (thoughts and memory) is wired through trillions of neural connections in our brain, and if we don’t use it – we lose it! We need consistency and repetition to keep growing and changing our neural pathways.
Given the current Covid-19 climate, many of us are spending large periods of time at home and in isolation and not getting the stimulation we need to keep these brain connections firing.
With this in mind, here are five great activities to keep your brain firing and your mind active!
- Go out and buy the newspaper – get your daily newspaper delivered or walk down to the local shop to get your news. Not only do you get a bit of physical exercise, but mental exercise when you read the articles and keep up to date with daily news. Flick to the puzzles section and keep your mind ticking by doing the Sudoku or crosswords
- Participate in meaningful conversations – call, write or email a friend or family member each day to see how they are going. Not only will it benefit your mind, but it may also benefit the mental health of your loved one.
- Learn a musical instrument – studies have shown that music engages areas of the brain that are involved in focus, attention and memory. It combines multiple basic brain functions together to form a complex skill. Not only does it benefit our brain, but it brings people together socially, can reduce pain and improve motor skills – a win, win!
- Bake something new, or an old favourite – get in the kitchen and test out your cooking skills. Not only is baking good for stimulating our memory, it stimulates our sensors and our cognitive processing. When we bake, we must find the ingredients, follow instructions, measure ingredients and the best bit…EAT!
- Get out in the garden – the benefits of gardening are endless, particularly for our physical health. For our mental health, gardening is a beautiful activity. It improves stress levels and relaxation while also challenging our cognitive processing. This happens as we consider when to plant, when to water, when to pick etc. Just ensure your garden space is safe and accessible for your needs.
If these fun activities don’t make you want to challenge your mind and stay active, I don’t know what will!!
- Small household changes that make everyday life a bit easier for Australian seniors
- 7 small things you can do today to boost your health and happiness
- Benefits of learning and playing music for adults
- 10 cognitive exercises for stroke patients to help improve mental clarity
- Gardening for older people
Article written by Madeline Low (TPC physiotherapist)