Articles, activities for boomers & seniors
Improve Your Mental and Social Fitness
Researchers at Stanford University found that memory loss can be improved by 30 to 50 percent simply by doing mental exercises. The brain is like a muscle - if you don't give it regular workouts, its functions will decline. Suggestions include:
- Keep up your social life and engage in plenty of stimulating conversations. Here in the Valley we have many venues for socializing. Lehigh Valley Active Life in Allentown has daily programs meant to keep you active and engaged with other folks.
- Your community centers also have activities for you to try. They have outings and trips that you can enjoy and usually at affordable prices. You have the added benefit of meeting new people when you try these activities.
- Read newspapers, magazines and books. This is a great way to stay alert and on top of what is going around you. You can read about local, national or international news (or all three). You can watch TV but that does not engage your mind as well as reading does.
- Play 'thinking' games like Scrabble, cards and Trivial Pursuit. These games are a fun way to interact with your family. Invite the kids and grandkids over for a fun time. If you do not own such games, several libraries can lend them to you. Avoid solitary games on the computer. It will only isolate you more.
- Take a course on a subject that interests you. Our community colleges have a phenomenal catalog of courseware. Find something that interests you. Try something you are familiar with, or better yet, try something completely out of your comfort zone. You will be the richer for it.
- Cultivate a new hobby. Here also you can use a community college non-credit course in something that could become a hobby for you. "Try before you buy".
- Learn a language. This may be a bit of a challenge, but then again, that is the whole point of expanding your experiences.
- Do crossword puzzles and word games.
- Play games that challenge the intellect and memory, such as chess.
- Watch 'question and answer' game shows on television, and play along with the contestants.
- Hobbies such as woodworking can improve the brain's spatial awareness.
- Keep stress under control with meditation and regular relaxation, since an excess of stress hormones like cortisol can be harmful to neurons.
Here are a few facilities that can help you engage your mind:
Bethlehem Township Comm. Ctr. - tinyurl.com/wp3edvx Easton Community Center - tinyurl.com/rypqwzl
Northampton Community College - tinyurl.com/vnnfjfo
Lehigh County Community College - tinyurl.com/ukgjuu5
Lower Macungie Township - tinyurl.com/rd3yr5a
Saucon Valley Community Center - tinyurl.com/w9yhj35