Improve your memory and lifestyle in retirement
At Kensington Gardens, we firmly believe that your retirement years should be the best time of your life! And to get the most out of your retirement, it’s important to stay fit and healthy, retain your independence, and look after your mind as well.
Just as we need to get our body moving to keep fit and healthy, so too do we need to keep our brain active for its health.
By practising certain mental exercises and activities every day, you can enjoy the benefits of a sharper mind for years to come.
Here are our top 9 tips for ways to keep your mind active and healthy once you’ve retired – all while enjoying a fulfilling retirement lifestyle.
1) Practice makes perfect
The latest research shows that it’s possible to stimulate connections between nerve cells, which may help your brain generate new cells. And just about any activity that is mentally stimulating can help build up your brain.
So while the old saying ‘use it or lose it’ may not be literally true, it’s certainly the case that you should ‘use it to improve it’!
What’s even better, many of the activities that may help build brain cells are fun to do, such as:
- Reading a many different books from many different authors
- Indulging your artistic side with drawing or painting
- Completing crosswords, jigsaws, or word puzzles
- Practising Sudoku and other ‘maths games’
- Playing chess or bridge
- Doing arts or crafts
2) Keep your body moving
There’s a very close link between the health of your body and the health of your mind. That’s because exercising regularly can help lower blood pressure, improve your cholesterol levels, and balance your blood sugar – all of which supports a healthy brain and a healthy heart.
And it doesn’t end there. Physical activity also increases the flow of oxygen to your brain and releases endorphins – your body’s ‘feel-good’ chemical. That’s why engaging in regular exercise can also help you relieve stress, overcome depression, and gain a more positive outlook on life. All good reasons to keep your body moving in retirement!
3) Make time for regular R&R
Now that you're retired, making time for regular rest and relaxation should be high up your list of priorities! And it’s not totally for enjoyment either – there are important health reasons to give your brain a break.
Being constantly exhausted, depressed, anxious, or sleep-deprived will slowly but surely take a toll on your brain and its functions. That’s why to help keep your brain at its best, you should make time in your daily schedule for:
- Yoga or stretching
- Meditation or visualisation
4) Never stop learning
Learning is a great way to maintain and grow your brain cells – which is why your retirement years are the perfect time to acquire different skills, explore new (or old) interests, and continue challenging your brain.
During your career, you kept your brain constantly active with the challenges of your daily work schedule. And now that your full-time working days are over, it’s important to maintain brain activity in your retirement.
Why not try:
- Learning to read music, or learning an instrument
- Take up dancing
- Joining a men’s (or women’s) shed
- Designing a new garden
- Learning photography, sketching, drawing or painting
5) Give your brain the fuel it needs
To ensure your brain can work at its best, think about your diet and how it affects brain function. Studies have shown that certain foods (including fatty fish, blueberries, turmeric, and even coffee) are known to support healthy brain function.
It’s also been observed that people who eat a “Mediterranean” diet that consists of mostly fruit, vegetables, fish, nuts, olive oil and plant-based proteins are less likely to develop dementia or cognitive impairment. Now that’s a very tasty way to build your brain!
Remember to talk to your GP or dietician about which foods could help support your brain to function at its best.
6) Maintain a healthy lifestyle
As we age, it’s so important to maintain our physical health – not least because of its direct correlation to our mental health.
Ways to maintain or improve your brain function as you age include:
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Exercising regularly
- Eating a healthy diet
- Reducing your stress
- Keeping your blood pressure low
- Observing the recommended alcohol intake guidelines
- Giving up smoking (if you haven’t already)
- Improving your blood sugar level (Diabetes is an important risk factor for dementia)
- Improving your cholesterol (High levels of LDL cholesterol are associated with an increased the risk of dementia)
Of course, take care to follow your GP’s advice before you make any radical changes to your diet or lifestyle.
7) Organise and de-clutter your home
Setting up and sticking to a system in your home can give your brain the space it needs to concentrate on learning and remembering new things.
Set aside a place to put your keys, purse or wallet, and phone. Keep your shopping list in the same spot on the fridge, and keep a diary for appointments, birthdays and special occasions.
You’ll also be amazed how de-cluttering your home can help de-clutter your mind! Thinking and worrying about all your ‘stuff’ takes up a lot of time and energy; which is why minimising your clutter also minimises distractions. You’ll be able to better focus on the new information that you want to remember.
Organising your home will also keep you calm, because you won’t need to worry about where you put things, where to store things, or whether you’ve lost things!
8) Remember, repetition aids retention
Repeating things aloud certainly helps you remember them. Repeating things aloud certainly helps you remember them.
See what we did there?
It’s always better to hear a crucial piece of information several times if you want to remember it. So for example if you’ve just met someone, ask them to repeat their name and then say it back to them out loud in conversation. Your brain will be much more likely to retain the information when you hear it several times.
9) Take part in your community
People who enjoy strong social ties generally have a lower risk of dementia, lower blood pressure, and longer life expectancy than those who don’t.
So get out into your community, and surround yourself with people whose company you enjoy – and who like being around you too! Not only will your social life benefit, but your mental wellbeing will too.
Find out why Kensington Gardens is the ideal place to keep your mind active
With so many facilities available to residents – and an active and welcoming social scene – Kensington Gardens offers you the perfect retirement lifestyle.
We invite you to come and see it for yourself. To arrange your personal tour, call Kensington Gardens today or get in touch online to book a time to come in and visit us.