10 Brain-Friendly Hobbies for Successful Aging (part 2)

June 18, 2009 at 3:33 pm Leave a comment

Earlier this week, we took a look at how our interests and hobbies can challenge and improve brain function – and took a brief tour of five potentially brain building pastimes.  If you missed it, be sure and check it out here: 10 Brain-Friendly Hobbies for Successful Aging (part 1)

Antique Camera photo by bjearwicke on Stock Xchng Today, we’re checking out  five more hobbies that can be good for the brain.  This  brief list certainly doesn’t exhaust the brain-challenging hobbies out there, and it’s not intended to do so.   The idea  here is to learn to look at potential activities from a brain fitness point of view, and be sure that we’re getting the biggest brain benefit from our interests as we can.   So with that in mind, on with the list!

Photography: Did you know that taking photographs throughout your day, and  looking over them later that night, can help you remember it better?

Because of how memories are created in the brain, the more frequently you access them, the stronger they become.  But outside of that benefit, photography can be as challenging as you allow it to be –  it encourages you to work your visual perception, use mathematical skills, learn new vocabulary, tools, and print methods.  Digital cameras make point-and-shoot picture taking simpler, but also provides options that allow the process to be more complex and customized than ever!  And if you constantly look at your environment for new photos, it because automatically enriched and more stimulating – even if you never leave your home neighborhood.

Writing/Memoirs/Scrapbooks: Anyone who writes will tell you how mentally challenging it is, and combining it with images and memories is a powerful workout for the brain.  And it’s a funny quirk of our memories that the more we remember something, the stronger the memory becomes – so writing our memoirs actually improves our memory.   It also provides a great excuse to get in touch with long lost family and friends for added details or photos.

Astronomy: You may not think of staring up at the stars as an intellectual exercise,  but it can be extremely challenging & surprisingly social!  There’s so much to learn about the stars and planets, not to mention asteroids, meteorites and satellites that zoom overhead constantly.  The variety of telescopes and equipment available assures that you’ll never be done learning, and astro-photography is another Telescope Image by Stylesr1 on Stock.Xchnggrowing, challenging hobby.  Most cities these days have astronomy clubs that host “star parties” where everyone brings their telescopes to help educate the public, as well as more serious viewing nights.

Genealogy: From looking up at the stars, to looking back at the past…. exploring your family history is  fascinating and as social and challenging as you allow it to be.  Learn to navigate the available computer programs and websites , visit cemeteries, county courthouses and churches, get in touch with long lost relatives, take photos, make scrapbooks, write down family stories, and test your own memory.  It also helps create a more detailed medical history for yourself and your family members, and challenges your own memory to dig out those long-forgotten details of family lore!

Blogging: Last but not least…. did you know blogging can be a hugely engaging brain-friendly hobby?  Trust me on this one!  You can start out easily, with  free turn key systems that require almost no knowledge of the software, but as you go forward, you’ll naturally learn more.. and more.. and more. Before you know it, you’ll be challenging your mind with acronyms like HTML, RSS, and CSS, as well as learning about widgets, taxonomy, bandwidth, and a whole heck of a lot of other stuff.  If your blog’s topic is a challenging hobby itself, that much the better!  Blogging can actually encourage you to continually challenge yourself to learn new things to share, making your new hobbies a double brain whammy

In Summary?

Keeping your brain active and challenged in a variety of ways is a huge part of brain fitness, as well as maintaining a positive quality of life.    Brain Training programs are only one element of staying intellectually active  –  having engaging, exciting interests and hobbies are another important part of mental exercise.

The main keys to remember, when selecting a hobby for brain-benefit?  It should involve new, challenging, and varied elements that involve a variety of different skills.   And as a bonus, try and find hobbies that are multidimensional – including intellectual, social and physical elements for the best brain boost.

So… what are your existing hobbies? Do they keep you feeling challenged and engaged?  Have you got any great brain-building interests that I left off the list? Leave a comment and let us know!

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

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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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