There’s been a lot of research into the benefits of keeping the mind busy. Scientists believe that maintaining an active mind can help to preserve the brain’s ‘memory centre’ and hold off degenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia.
It’s important to keep training the mind as we get older and research has also shown that people who continue to learn later into life appear to develop stronger brain cells and connections, reducing the chance of developing conditions that affect memory.
Even when we’re on holiday we can still keep training the brain. Here are some fun ways to keep mentally active while relaxing by the pool:
Try some bingo: Wink Bingo says that research from the University of Southampton finds that this timeless game is an “effective way to slow and counter age-related decline in our thinking capacity.” They also say that experts believe that playing bingo has a ‘positive impact on mental speed’ (the ability to scan information and memory). It’s easy to play online, so get ready for ‘eyes down’ and you could even win some money while keeping your brain busy.
Sudoku: This numbers game took the world by storm when it first appeared in mainstream media in 2004 and is well known for helping to keep the brain active. The aim is to fill a 9×9 grid with digits so that each column, each row, and each of the sub-grids contain all of the digits from 1 to 9. It can be very challenging but it’s a good feeling when you crack a puzzle.
Crosswords: These word puzzles continue to be popular and are available online or you can even buy a whole book of them. Try a simple crossword to start with before challenging yourself with a ‘cryptic’ one.
Memory games: If you’re with the family then why not play some games which involve you all trying to memories something you’ve seen? That could be lying by the pool or on the beach and memorizing the scene – a bright green lilo, a red beach ball, a man with a brown sunhat. Then ask someone in the family to close their eyes and try to recite some of what they’ve seen. Then swap over.
Read a book: Take your Kindle or a handful of books with you and catch up on some ‘me’ time while drifting off to another world. Researchers have found that simply reading a book promotes mental stimulation and could be linked to a slower rate of decline in brain power.
Learn a new language: If you are travelling abroad then what better excuse than to brush up on the local lingo? There are plenty of resources online that you can download and take on holiday with you, then have fun practicing chatting with the locals.
These are just a few of the ideas that we’ve come up with. There are lots more ways to keep your mind busy while away from home. If you’re arty you might like to draw on holiday or take a coloring book for adults with you, which also promotes relaxation. You don’t have to be busy all the time you’re away but just doing something for an hour or two each day can help keep your mind healthy.
Good Diet and exercise actually play a role in the health of your brain as well.