Challenging Hobbies Help Maintain Brain Health
Carol Bradley Bursack | June 19, 2015
Although there’s a long way to go before Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia are well understood, studies have shown that keeping the body and brain active throughout life may at least delay dementia symptoms. Happily, staying active is not all work. Hobbies can be healthy.
Art Therapy Uncovers Latent Talent
It’s been found that elders with dementia often show amazing insight and talent when given the tools to draw, paint or sculpt. Sometimes inhibitions and filters that previously held people back diminish with the disease.
Don’t Wait For Dementia to Liberate You
If people who already have dementia symptoms can benefit from allowing themselves the freedom to create, other aging brains should also be able to benefit from these activities. Buy some water colors, a couple of canvases and drop the idea that you must be good. Just have fun.
Hobbies for Creative, Spatial and Fine Motor Skills
While painting, sculpting and other fine arts stimulate many parts of the brain, if they don’t appeal to you try wood working. Or learn to play an instrument such as a guitar. Or do needlework. All of these activities help keep reasoning and planning skills alive. They are as creative as you want to make them.
Gardening Is Amazingly Healthy
For some people, gardening is relaxing and challenging all at once. It provides steady physical activity, artistic and spatial planning as well as healthy doses of sun and fresh air.
Not every senior has knees that can handle the moves of a good tennis game, but for those who can and would enjoy it, consider that AARP formally recommends it as being good for your whole body including the brain.
While I’ve never read any studies about table tennis, it seems that this is one game that could give seniors some of the benefits of traditional tennis with fewer limitations. Or how about pool? Playing pool or billiards uses strategy and exercises spatial areas of the brain.
Computers Still Popular Choice
Many seniors use the Internet for research, social connections, email and even game playing. Popular game sites offer a variety of games that can be challenging and entertaining all at once.
Reading and Writing
Hobbies can increase your quality of life and may even help protect your brain from the symptoms of disease. Hobbies and a quality social life are part of that equation. You have nothing to lose by having fun and you could have a lot to gain.