December 9, 2016

Teaching an Old Dog, New Tricks: 5 Ways to Challenge Your Brain in Retirement

Just because you're retired and have relocated to the Sunshine State doesn't mean that you should stop trying to improve yourself! Your brain is a beautiful thing that is "plastic", meaning it can change and you can learn new things at any age! Here are five activities that you can engage in to improve your quality of life and keep your brain challenged!

Walk it Out:
Walking is a low-key exercise that can be good for both your body and mind. Scientists have found that the speed at which you walk can be an indicator of cognitive abnormalities or neurodegenerative diseases such as dementia. Keeping a regular exercise routine, such as an early morning walk at a quick pace, can give you the motivation to stay active. Try to switch up your route and the surface that you walk on each day to keep your mind sharp and stay aware of your surroundings.

Get a Job:

The extra money might be nice, but a part-time job in retirement can be beneficial for a number of reasons including staying social, maintaining a routine, and staying motivated by learning a new skill. Many retirees can feel overwhelmed when going from working a 40-hour work week for years to no real structured tasks. Find something that fits your interests or a passion you may not have been able to explore previously. Your brain is able to change and grow at any age, don’t be afraid to learn something new!

Go Back to School:
There are plenty of classes offered at local community centers or colleges. Interested in 18th-century literature or computer coding? Never stop being fascinated by how things work. Remember, the frontal lobe of your brain and your cerebellum thrive on learning. The more you challenge your brain to think differently and develop new patterns, the better the changes your brain will function in all aspects of your life.

Travel the World:

A cliché of empty-nesters and retirees alike, traveling the world in your golden years is becoming popular, as many now have the time and resources to take extended trips and explore unfamiliar territory. Take advantage of this! Learn a new language (or at least the conversational basics), immerse yourself in unfamiliar customs, hike a famous structure or mountain. If you stay active and stay motivated to try something new, your brain will thank you for it!

Those who cannot do, teach:

You may have retired from your job, but that doesn’t mean that people wouldn’t benefit from your expertise! Take a part-time job sharing your skills with others. Teaching may take on a new perspective and way of thinking on a subject you may have thought you have mastered. It’s all about finding new ways for your brain to manage and process information.

Retirement is not an end; it is a new beginning. If you have prepared yourself, you could have the resources and time to anything you want! Make it productive and always work on improving yourself.


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