Staying fit and healthy requires a good, balanced diet, regular exercise and frequent brain workouts. If the last one surprises you, just take a moment to consider the strong, vital connections between your body and your brain.
When you’re happy, your body responds by making you smile and feel energetic, or maybe even do a little dance with glee! When you’re sad, your shoulders droop, your facial expression changes and you may even become engulfed in a feeling of extreme tiredness.
There’s no doubt that physical exercise is good for enhancing your mood if you sometimes feel low, and in just the same way there are some activities you can do that will pump up your brain, keeping it engaged, active and positively youthful.
Here are a few ideas for ways to retain good mental health alongside the physical variety.
Learn New Things
‘Use it or lose it’ is a phrase that’s often quoted in reference to physical activity. However, it doesn’t apply only to your muscles.
Obviously, if you stop walking you’ll soon reach a point where you can’t anymore and if you stop exercising your brain you’ll soon reach a point where you find it difficult to grasp new concepts or understand changes to your environment.
Older people in particular need to keep their brains active as studies into the onset of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease have indicated.
The good news is that learning new things doesn’t have to mean learning something overly complex, such as another language. You could decide, for instance, to learn how to dance or how to play a musical instrument.
All of these things are good for you in a number of different ways. However, it’s also the case that straightforward board games, crosswords, card games and online games that challenge you and teach you how to react in new ways are also beneficial.
Lots of fun games that will keep your brain active are connected with playing sports.
Maybe there are particular types of sporting activities in which you also enjoy participating, however, even if this isn’t the case you can soon enter into the spirit of the game by learning, for example, how to build a fantasy team, and compete against other teams in the league.
Live betting site Stakers offers a wide range of sports betting options to choose from, including soccer, baseball and ice hockey, to name just a few. If you love speed, you could also check out auto racing or alpine skiing.
Chess is also a great game if you want to challenge your intellectual capacity, and any learning activities like these that require you to plan your moves and respond to new situations will benefit your brain.
Word games have always been popular and those where you have to play strategically are particularly good for your mental health.
Simple crosswords help to keep your memory in good shape while cryptic ones are a little more testing, although once you get the hang of spotting the definition part of the clue, you’ll be amazed at how straightforward they can be.
Scrabble is also fun and is a good way to develop your vocabulary.
You can play online against a computer or sign up for games with random opponents. Card games also keep your brain active, particularly bridge, although even a game where you have to try to match pairs, often enjoyed by young children, is good way for improving your memory.
Playing with Others
Just as exercising with others can help to motivate you to improve your fitness so playing games with other people offers you better social interaction than doing that crossword all by yourself.
Why not challenge a friend to join you in exploring some of the games available? If you opt for the online variety you can play with someone no matter where they live, and it’s a great way to keep your friendship alive.