First things first. What are information-processing activities? Basically, this is a fancy way of referring to anything that makes you think. Reading an Agatha Christie novel, an article online, a newspaper, or a romance novel are all information-processing activities.
Listening to the radio, watching an educational program on the Discovery Channel, and visiting historical sites and museums are also information-processing activities.
You get the picture. Anything that makes your brain cells sit up, take notice, and feel alive.
A National Institute on Aging study has found that people who most often participate in information-processing activities are 47% less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease than those who participated least often in these same activities.
“If you sit around and don’t exercise a muscle, it atrophies — and the same goes for the brain,” says Dr. Kimford Meador, MD, fellow with the American Academy of Neurology and professor of neurology at the University of Florida. The phrase use it or lose it comes to mind.
Below are more ways to stimulate your mind.
- Read older novels. Your mind has to really stay on its toes to “translate” the language into today’s verbiage.
- Paint by Numbers. A lot of people are more creative than they realize
- Play cards. Learn as many card games as possible, then become the best player you know!
- Visit museums. Make it a point to visit all the museums in your state. Then branch out further.
- Take up bird watching. Learn to identify birds in your region by sight and sound.
- Pick up a new craft. Learn to knit, crochet, make soap, make candles, etc. Master one, then move on to the next.
- Work several puzzles each day. Whether it’s Sudoku, crossword puzzles, or word scrambles – make them a part of your daily routine.
- Work jigsaw puzzles regularly. Start simple, then move on to the challenging ones.
- Buy a telescope and learn about the stars. New hobbies are rewarding in so many ways!
- Choose an author you like and read every book he or she has written.
- Write your own novel!
A reminder: Don’t do the same activities over and over again – thinking that you’re hitting the ball out of the park. There are different parts of your brain (some people think of them in terms of regions), and each part is stimulated differently. The area of your brain that’s stimulated by a game of cards might not respond at all to painting by numbers. Use a wide range of activities that encourage a wide range of benefits. Use art-based activities to encourage creativity, take up hobbies that encourage concentration and focus, frequently play games that require memorization, etc.
The greater the variety of activities, the greater the benefits.
Photo Credit: The Willis Tower 3D Puzzle, shown at the top of the article is from Marbles: The Brain Store.
This museum quality 3D puzzle stands over 24 inches tall and boasts authentic details and sturdy construction. Whether you opt to call it Willis or Sears Tower, assembling this 51-piece puzzle will help you fine-tune your motor and visual perception skills.