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How to Build Mental Muscle as You Age

The Benefits of Brain Exercises for Seniors

Recently, studies have been conducted that show how an active brain leads to less of a decline in your cognitive abilities. One study in particular involved more than 2,800 adults ages 65 and older who took up to 10 brain training classes for 6 weeks, focusing on memory, reasoning and speed at which they processed information. The adults who took the training showed significant improvement in those skills which lasted at least 5 years! Plus, they were also able to complete daily tasks easier, like managing money and completing household chores.

Neuroplasticity refers to way our brains change throughout the courses of our lives. Just like our bodies, as we go through the aging process, our brains can begin to slow down and lose some of its “muscle”, or cognitive function. It’s vital that we stay mentally active to help improve our memory and even offset Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias. Living a healthier lifestyle all around by eating a well-balanced diet that is low in fat and cholesterol, along with incorporating daily exercise into your routine will also help to improve your mental capabilities. Try to avoid passive activities like watching television for hours on end and avoid boredom as much as possible.

Brain Games for Memory

You’ve probably heard a bit about brain exercises for seniors or those brain games for memory improvement, and if you’re already experiencing some memory issues, there’s no better time to try some out. These games and exercises can not only slow further cognitive impairment, but they can be fun, too!

Here are some memory games and exercises you can try:

  • Take up a new hobby. Learn something new, like knitting, sewing, painting, playing a musical instrument, or speaking a foreign language.
  • Play card games and board games. Get some friends together for a weekly card game; if you’re already experiencing some memory issues, keep the game simple, like War or Go Fish. Or, play some fun, easy board games with visiting grandchildren.
  • Put together a puzzle. Puzzles test hand-eye coordination and concentration. Crossword puzzles or number puzzles are also great ways to engage your brain.
  • Challenge your taste buds. Try to identify each ingredient in a new dish; the subtle herbs, spices and seasonings.
  • Play online memory or video games. The internet has a plethora of free brain games for memory available- check the AARP’s website!
  • Take some classes. Sign up for continuing education classes through a local college, senior center or  program. Find a topic that interests you so you know you’ll stay engaged. For information on Galloway Ridge’s Life Enrichment program, click here.
  • Make lists. Write down your grocery list or to-do list and then try to memorize it. A half an hour later, see if you can recall every item on the list.


These brain exercises for seniors will not only help improve your memory, but many of them offer a way for you to stay socially connected, too. Social connections are also a key component to not only your brain health, but your overall health, too.

Building Mental Muscle through Healthy Horizons at Galloway Ridge

Galloway Ridge, seniors involved in our Healthy Horizons program utilize Dr. Green’s Total Brain Health® Program to help improve memory and mental sharpness. The program recognizes that overall health can influence senior brain fitness, and believes seniors should practice all aspects of a healthy lifestyle.

Find out more about the Healthy Horizons program offered at Galloway Ridge by clicking here.