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10 exercises to maintain your mental capacities

10 exercises to maintain your mental capacities

The aging of the body is undoubtedly more easily palpable than the aging of the brain. The reduction in cerebral functions, which inevitably occurs with advancing age, is indeed more difficult to pinpoint:it is impossible to take a photo at a given moment and compare the evolution a few months or a few years later, like what could be done for the body. But it is possible to stimulate the brain, as one does with the body, by exercises. Here are 10 that will help you maintain your mental abilities. For each of them, we highlight their main function. It is obvious that each of these exercises generally has multiple virtues.

Exercise 1 to maintain short-term memory

Short-term memory is perhaps, of all our faculties, the one whose decline is the easiest to observe. However, we must guard against misleading memories because it is also easy to overestimate the mental abilities that we had when we were younger. In addition, certain abilities decline rapidly as soon as they are not useful, regardless of age. Short-term memory was essential in times when instruction concerned only a small number of individuals. His reading and writing skills were exceptional, so there was no other way but to rely on his memory. Which is quite different today.

Here is a simple exercise to perform every day, like a little ritual . Take a deck of cards, no matter what deck it is. Draw 10 cards at random and write them down on a piece of paper. Rewrite the top list immediately on another sheet, then again after half an hour, and finally one last time after an hour.

If you have the opportunity to find partners, tarot, bridge or belote games are excellent board games for short-term memory because they require you to remember the cards played.

Exercise 2 to maintain your ability to express yourself

If it is not uncommon to be out of vocabulary and not to be able to find the word you are looking for, and this at any age, we often observe a decline in the vocabulary used around age. 70 years old.

The daily reading of the page of a dictionary is a good exercise to maintain and enrich your vocabulary. After carefully reading all the words, you choose one or two and write a sentence that includes them. Note the date and re-read your productions from time to time.

Exercise 3 to maintain your calculation skills

Mental calculation seems to have fallen into disuse, in particular because of the calculators integrated into smartphones which are increasingly present in our daily lives. On the occasion of the sales, in the stores, we see flourishing tables indicating a price list and the final result once the discount has been made. To maintain your mental abilities, mental arithmetic is a fundamental exercise that must be abused every day!

Exercise 4 to maintain your learning skills

The brain can actively compensate for the age-related decline in nerve cell count by creating new connections between the remaining nerve cells. Learning a foreign language turns out to be particularly rich and there is no age to start. Studies have found that the gray matter of speakers of multiple languages ​​is denser. Many methods offer learning based on 5 to 10 minutes a day. Here is an exercise that you should not deprive yourself of, given its benefits.

Exercise 5 to maintain your proprioception

Physical exercise helps to slow the loss of nerve cells and to keep the remaining nerve cells functioning. The hippocampus is responsible for verbal learning and memory. And when you exercise, its volume increases.

All it takes is 10 minutes of light to moderate exercise to strengthen the connections between neurons and the regions of the brain dedicated to memory. Performing a few simple tai chi movements, for example, will prove to be good daily exercise. You can choose a video on the Internet, presenting movements that seem accessible to you. The goal is simply to reproduce the movements:you are focused on the indications and on the image, trying to imitate the person on the screen as best you can. Through this exercise, you develop awareness of your body and can adapt the efforts you have to make on a daily basis, which will limit loss of balance and other risks of injury.

Exercise 6 to maintain your imagination

Here is a visualization exercise that you can gradually become familiar with. The idea is to close your eyes and visualize a gray wall that you cover with white paint with a roller or brush. Once the wall is white, paint the number 100 large in the center. Then you erase it by covering it with white paint and paint the number 99, which you in turn erase to replace it with the number 98, and so on until you reach 0.

It is possible that you will not immediately be able to correctly visualize the different stages or that you will get lost in the countdown. Don't get upset or give up. Do not force and give yourself time to progress. With practice, you will eventually complete the exercise from start to finish without getting lost.

If you have difficulty falling asleep, do not hesitate to practice this exercise at bedtime. It is a similar exercise to imagining numbered sheep jumping one after another over a fence. Choose images that you like:you will have all the more motivation to succeed.

Exercise 7 to maintain your concentration skills

Mental dispersion creates fatigue and can cause migraines. Also, avoid doing several things at once.

The exercise therefore consists of focusing on one task at a time. This state of mind is very close to the state that precedes the state of meditation.

Exercise 8 to maintain your sensitivity

Coloring isn't just for kids anymore. Its benefits have also been demonstrated for adults, regardless of their age. Choose a pattern book that inspires you.

The coloring exercise of a drawing of your choice must be done in connection with the previous exercise:do only one thing at a time. When you color, you observe in detail the lines of the contours, the tracing of the pencil tip on the paper, you become aware of the way you color, the pressure exerted by your hand, etc. The idea is to get you absorbed in the coloring exercise. Carefully choose your colors, their intrinsic quality and their relationship between them. And when you have finished your coloring, enjoy your creation by taking the time to observe it as a whole.

Exercise 9 to maintain your creativity

The Internet now offers the possibility of accessing many tutorials that allow you to progress in drawing. If you want to learn drawing or painting techniques, this is a great idea!

But do not hesitate to think outside the box and offer yourself spaces of freedom. On a white sheet, you draw a few lines with your eyes closed. Then, you open your eyes and let yourself be carried away by the inspiration of the moment, whether you represent something real or a more abstract figure. The essence of such an exercise is to respond impulsively to your desires, without restraint, without mental barriers, without judgment or self-censorship. Give yourself the opportunity to doodle freely on paper:it's good for your brain!

Exercise 10 to maintain your projection ability

Planning is a fundamental cognitive skill. It is about practicing anticipating and imagining the best way to perform a task correctly. This requires defining a goal, deciding how you want to achieve it and in what order the tasks are organized.

Described like this, it may seem abstract but a simple and useful exercise can simply be to plan your day every morning:it's up to you whether or not to respect your projection to the letter, especially if you like improvisation. Ultimately, it is the projection exercise itself that matters.