[Skip to Content]

3 benefits of mental exercise for seniors

Posted by Dr. Shirley Newell

A smiling elderly man with an orange sweater

Seniors who want to stay young can retain their youthfulness by keeping their brain’s neural pathways balanced. Since these senses tend to dull over time, giving the brain a mental workout is just as important as daily physical exercise.

Continually giving your mind new ideas to grasp and challenges to connect with are some of the best ways to stay alert and promote brain health. To do this, many seniors employ the use of mental exercises. According to MedicineNet, a review of studies that was published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal discovered that computerized training programs, individualized personal memory training, and reasoning and processing speed can improve memory decline over time. This means that you and your mother or father can take steps now to ensure that mental health does not deteriorate over time. As with many age-related issues, prevention is key, and mental exercises can be an excellent addition to a daily regimen so that your parent’s senses are sharp throughout their golden years.

Here are some benefits that seniors may experience with mental exercise:

1. You open your mind to new ideas

The brain loves a challenge. Embracing a new language, learning to play an instrument or traveling are a few of the ways you can open those pathways. Just because your mother is older that doesn’t mean she can’t work to keep her brain young. After learning a new language, she can further challenge herself by traveling to a new country and testing out her skills. Going to an unfamiliar area is one of the best ways to boost mental fitness.

2. Mental exercises can be fun

Many of the mental exercises common with seniors come in the form of games, such as crossword puzzles or Sudoku. These games work different quadrants of the brain, which is essential if you want to keep your senses alert. They can also be motivating, challenging and fun.

3. Working out your brain helps you to be more social

Some seniors experience loneliness as they age. Signing up for a class, getting together with friends to play cards or volunteering can help your loved ones feel less isolated. Being around others may also help them learn about new ideas that keep them thinking. The more social a person is, the more nimble the brain becomes.

Although there is nothing to stop us from getting older, these mental benefits may help us feel younger as we work to improve our memories for years to come.