Five activities to improve brain health
If you have ever wandered into a room to get something but can’t remember what that thing was, you are not alone. Everyone misplaces the car keys or forgets a meeting once in a while because it is part of aging.
As we age, certain areas of the brain related to learning and complex mental activities begin to shrink. There can also be a decline in the communication between nerve cells and blood flow to the brain. These factors are the reason that it becomes harder to think of the right word or name. It also is why multitasking and paying attention can become a little more challenging. The good news is that even an aging brain can learn something new.
There is no one sure way to prevent memory loss or dementia but there are activities that will help keep your brain healthy. Here are five suggestions for maintaining brain health from the Mayo Clinic.
1. Give your brain a workout. Just like the rest of your body, your brain benefits from activity. Pick activities that are enjoyable but mentally challenging like doing crossword puzzles or Sudoku or joining in a game of bridge. Many area community colleges offer a variety of stimulating continuing education classes that are perfect brain boosters. The key is finding a variety of enjoyable activities that involve putting on your thinking cap.
2. Make new friends and appreciate the old ones. Two of the culprits that can affect your brain are depression and stress. The best way to ward off these devastating feelings is to socialize. Get out and visit with your friends, meet new people and interact. Volunteer at a local school or hospital to feel appreciated. Visit with the relatives or the grandkids regularly. Continually seek opportunity to be in fellowship with others and you are less likely to feel depression and stress.
3. Get organized. When your life is organized, your brain functions more efficiently. Set routines like putting your keys and wallet on the dresser every night. Keep a calendar where you write down important dates and refer to it daily. Make a to-do list and mark off completed tasks to see progress. Come up with ways to remember things like connecting your parking garage location on level C with your wife Charlene’s name. When there is a plan to life, your brain can function more efficiently.
4. Try something new. When you travel somewhere for the first time, learn a different language or try a new hobby, your brain is challenged, which helps it stay in shape. Trying new things also helps you expand your areas of interest. After taking that class in playing the banjo, you might find you really enjoy making music.
5. Get the blood flowing. Exercise gets your heart pumping, which gets the blood moving and carries oxygen to your brain. Try to get in 150 minutes of aerobic activity each week. Whether you take two 10-minute walks a day or head to the gym for a workout three times a week, regular exercise is good for your whole body including your brain.
Keeping your brain healthy can be especially challenging following surgery or illness. During a time of recovery, you may not be able to attend your regular activities and end up staying home in your room. This can be an isolating and depressing experience. But recovery does not need to be a mind-numbing experience. Choosing to stay in a short-term rehabilitation center can allow a time of recuperation where you can still interact with others and enjoy new activities.
Whitehall of Deerfield is the North Shore’s premier location for short-term rehabilitation. This short-term care location takes pride in its ability to address all of the needs of its guests from physical to medical to social. Entertainment offerings at Whitehall of Deerfield include concerts, cinema and dance performances. There are opportunities to enjoy stimulating table games, cooking courses and art appreciation classes. Meals can be shared with others every day.
There are few competitors than can match Whitehall of Deerfield’s ability to pamper its guests. Well-appointed rooms and suites feature world-class amenities including concierge service, high-speed wireless Internet, daily delivery of Starbucks coffee and newspaper, in-room massage and dozens of cable channels with a 24-hour channel of newly released movies. Guests select meals from menus and enjoy in-room dining. There are also complimentary fresh-baked treats and ice cream available at an on-site ice cream parlor and coffee shop. Friends and family will find valet parking when they come to visit and a variety of inviting areas for spending time together.
You can enjoy this luxury while receiving the highest level of health care by compassionate experts who are focused on each guest’s recovery. Seven days a week, experienced therapists provided one-on-one physical and occupational therapy needed to regain strength, mobility and independence. The staff also helps guests move forward to regain the confidence they need to return to an active lifestyle. When it is time to return home, discharge planners make arrangements for any needed equipment or service.
To learn more about Whitehall of Deerfield, or schedule a tour, visit whitehallofdeerfield.com or call 847-945-4600.
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