10 Brain-Friendly Hobbies for Successful Aging (part 1)

June 16, 2009 at 2:48 pm 2 comments

Parsley Gardening photo by juancho17 on Stock.XchngKeeping the mind stimulated and active is key to maintaining cognitive function as we age.  Brain training products and programs are a big help towards that end, but they’re only part of the cognitive-activity picture. The other part? An intellectually active lifestyle, including varied interests and hobbies that keep us learning and using our brains throughout our life.

Anything that keeps you learning, interested and engaged is good, but some  hobbies may provide more benefits for your brain than others – especially those which are new to you, challenging, have increasing difficulty levels, and involve a variety of different kinds of brain functions.

When thinking about intellectual activities, most people think of crossword puzzles or brain teasers – but below are a few examples of hobbies that may actually be better for your brain’s health.  Why? They present us with new ways of looking at the world around us,  require a wide variation in the skills involved, and are multi-dimensional, involving elements that not only challenge us mentally, but provide other brain benefits as well.

Now, on with the first five examples:

Gardening: Gardening is good for the brain in many ways – it gets you outdoors in the sunshine (which helps with insomnia, stress, depression, and vitamin D production).  It’s physically active, with levels of activity that can be adjusted for various people’s limits.  You can raise brain-healthy fruits and vegetables, or get involved in a community garden to make it a social activity – and there’s always more to learn!

Juggling image by jzlomek on Stock.Xchng Juggling: It may seem odd to consider juggling a brain-healthy hobby, but it is!  It  involves physical dexterity,  depth perception, coordination, balance, and a lot of complex hand-eye coordination.  It’s  inexpensive, offers ever-increasing challenges, and is a great way to entertain kids, or to volunteer for entertainment at senior centers, making it social.

Golf: Again, it gets you outdoors, in the sunshine, phsyically active, and social. Golf also exercises hand-eye coordination, depth perception, and there is so much to learn about technique, equipment, and courses…  try exploring different courses to introduce a more enriched and stimulating environment.

Origami: The Japanese art of paper-folding may seem another unusual choice, but following the patterns requires learning an entire new language of folds, symbols and patterns.   It requires manual dexterity, hand eye coordination, and a developing an eye for shapes and spatial relationships.   It’s also another great way to get involved in teaching kids!

Card Games: Card games are a traditional past-time of retirees for good reason – they’re excellent exercise for the brain, challenging your working memory, mathematical skills. They require high levels of social involvement, and being good at them requires you to sharpen your people reading skills and  subconscious calculations of risks and odds.

Check back in on Thursday for Part 2 of the list, or add your own favorite brain-friendly hobbies in the comments section below!

Entry filed under: Be Mentally Active. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , .

New Study Reveals 4 Elements That Keep Older Adults Minds Sharp 10 Brain-Friendly Hobbies for Successful Aging (part 2)

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Tuesday  |  June 18, 2009 at 2:01 pm

    Great post! Thanks for all the tips! Alzheimer’s runs in my family so it’s always been a concern of mine, particularly for my mom as she ages. Which she already does plenty of gardening every day, so that’s great news! I’ve always been a particular fan of exercise to help with memory and keep the brain clear. Here’s some more helpful methods to keep the ole memory sharp.


    Hope this is helpful.


  • 2. lahgibbs  |  March 10, 2010 at 9:39 pm

    I had no idea that gardening was helpful in the ways you’ve described but it sounds good to me. I have tomato plants and they are going to be happy now that I’m going to spend more time with them 🙂


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About This Blog

A healthy mind and brain is key to a healthy, active life. Come along for the ride as we explore the basics of brain health, with topics including:
  • Physical Exercise
  • Cognitive Training
  • Stress Management
  • Social Interaction
  • Sleep
  • Nutrition
  • A Sense of Purpose & Connection
Authored by Tori Deaux
Sponsored by Dakim Brain Fitness



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