10 Simple Activities to Exercise Your Brain and Manage Stress
“We have to realize that the era of the magic bullet — drugs for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease — is over. We need to take an integrative or holistic approach, like they do for heart disease. What works for the heart, works for the head.”
–Dr. Khalsa, ca. 1994
Brain stimulation is the best way to stay mentally active and reduce stress. Reducing stress will help prevent Alzheimer’s and dementia as you age. And just like physical exercise, mental exercise is good for your overall health.
Here are a few activities you can do to keep an active and healthy mind.
Play Brain Games
- Puzzles – Try your hand at activities like crosswords, sudoku, scrabble, or even the traditional jigsaw puzzle to get your brain active. It will stimulate your strategical thinking and problem-solving skills.
- Cards – Playing a round or two of cards not only challenges your brain, it provides an opportunity to socialize with other people around you, making it a great stress-relieving activity. Try downloading a card game online to play with others from your smart phone.
- Matching and Memory Games – Find and practice memorization techniques and put them to the test with memory games.
Engage in Creativity
- Reading – Get some reading in every day by reading the news or reading a good book. Consider joining a book club to stay engaged with others.
- Writing – This is another great way to practice memory. Try keeping a journal and write down what happened that day and how you felt about it. You could also write hand-written cards or letters. It’s good for your mind, and it’s heartfelt for anyone who receives one.
- Arts and Crafts – Painting, drawing, scrapbooking, knitting—all these activities involve creating something new that didn’t exist before. This stimulates your brain to participate in creativity.
- Music – Playing an instrument or listening to music is another great way to engage in art in a way that will arouse your brain and your senses. It also will develop your ability to focus and, for the instrument players, hand-eye coordination.
Enjoy Light Physical Activity
- Take a Walk – This is a great way to exercise muscles and brain, which allows your muscles to be active, in a non-strenuous way. Even as little as 15 minutes a day can improve your mental health.
- Stretch – This another low active form of working your muscles to work your brain. It reminds your brain of different muscles it might not be used to working as much.
- Do Yoga – Yoga or Tai Chi are both great exercises that will improve your balance and agility, which are two important parts of keeping a healthy mind.
In Conclusion, Stay Proactive About Your Health!
We recommend just trying one of these activities to start staying proactive about your brain health. Staying mentally healthy and physically healthy is key in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease.
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Alzheimer’s Research & Prevention Foundation is a leading global Alzheimer’s disease (AD) prevention organization, funding some of the most significant integrative medicine research on Alzheimer’s prevention, while providing educational outreach to laypeople, healthcare providers and caregivers on the 4 Pillars of Alzheimer’s Prevention®. Our research has been published in the prestigious Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, as well as other significant medical journals, such as The International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, Psychiatry Research, Nuclear Medicine Communications and Consciousness and Cognition.
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