The Importance of Mental & Physical Activity as You Get Older

The Importance of Mental & Physical Activity as You Get Older

You may have heard that a new hobby or interest can improve your wellness when you’re older, and it’s true! Keeping your mind active is one of the best ways to stay healthy. Finding a new passion can provide daily satisfaction, a new community and a renewed sense of purpose.

Getting started is as easy as being willing to learn something new. Staying sharp means being a lifelong learner, and now is the perfect time to plant new seeds for well-being and happiness.

How to Stay Sharp Later in Life

Have you ever tried a new interest or skill only to have it fall to the wayside after a few weeks? You’re not alone! The question is: how can this time be different?

The benefits of stronger cognition are yours if you can set reasonable expectations for yourself and jump in with both feet. You can expect hurdles and challenges, but making progress in a new interest, skill or craft can provide a deep, daily satisfaction and other benefits.

The Benefits of Brain Stimulation

You need to stretch and exercise your mind like any muscle for top performance. There are several studies on the benefits of daily mental activity and how it can help strengthen our brains, especially more mentally stimulating activities like puzzles or mind games. Others have observed that learning a new language can help retain cognitive function, even as you get older.

Staying mentally active might require some effort, but it’s not without its rewards. Check out some of the benefits you can expect from this:

  • Faster, more accurate recollection
  • Better daily mental health
  • Improved cognitive function

Choose Activities That Interest and Challenge You

A thoughtful, engaged activity can be as simple as reading a new book. The important part is that you are applying your working brain to make connections, determinations or solve problems.

Interestingly, something you find most familiar and comfortable may be the least likely to get your brain in gear. So try not to choose an activity based on comfort but on interest. Here are a few suggestions to get you started:

  • Learning about a historical or cultural subject of interest
  • Playing logic games and puzzles (crosswords, sudoku)
  • Speaking, reading and writing a new language
  • Learning a new trade
  • Playing an instrument or creating art
  • Community enrichment efforts
  • Asking others to join you in any of the above

For so many reasons, the best options are new activites that can can easily hold your undivided attenion. Sharing a new interest with friends can be its own reward and everyone can appreciate the power of a shared passion or goal. Getting active and introducing a shared interest like dancing or the arts can be a great way to get social and invest in your local community.

Getting Started with Something New

No one masters something on their first try, but there is no right or wrong way to try something new. It’s okay to feel hesitant or frustrated sometimes, but don’t let it stop you! Finding the fun in your first steps can help you as a beginner in any subject or skill.

Not sure how to take that first step? There are endless possibilities, but here are a few things to try:

  • Join or start a group to discuss your new interest
  • Get a book about your new interest
  • Attend online or in-person workshops for most crafts or skills
  • Check out Concordia’s events page or the weekly activity calendar to see if any upcoming events fit the bill

Learning to love the incremental progress and daily practice is the first step to achieving the confidence and joy of understanding something new.

Keep Up Those Cognitive Benefits!

No matter how you choose to stay active later in life—mentally or physically—it’s something to celebrate. You are working towards the best version of yourself, finding new ways to boost your brain power. We can’t wait to see what you learn next!

Health & Aging