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As people age, mind and body sometimes loose some abilities. Genes and heredity also play a role in how this happens. Aging can become a great source of frustration, dependence on others even isolation, when capacities are declining.  There are ways to help slow down this process. The benefits of healthy lifestyles, physical exercises and cognitive stimulation can be valuable contributions to maintaining a healthy mind and body in addition to providing a slowdown in the progression of certain conditions such as Alzheimer, Osteoporosis, Parkinson, Arthritis and Osteoarthritis.

Keep a keen mind, and stay active with a few activities, which are not only enjoyable, it is advantageous in strengthening social interaction which brings increased self-esteem throughout small accomplishments.

Here are some challenges to train your mind and body. Ready? Let’s go!

Challenges to stimulate cognitive functions:

  1. For Comedians and Poets: collect jokes, poems and quotes daily, try to remember a new one daily, and recite them to your loved ones. This will bring laughter, reflections and many interesting discussions: you’ll see!
  2. To stimulate language skills: Invent rhymes or riddles! In addition to building conversations in a playful way, they will make your brain work… and everyone’s as well!
  3. Sudokus, crossword puzzles, cards and board games, mix-up word games are excellent to sharpen your focus and strategies! Enjoy!
  4. An excellent antidote against depression and stress: Spend time with your grandchildren! They will quickly take you into their universe and pull you out of your comfort zone: Guaranteed! You will probably bring them a lot in turn. These relations are priceless. Let’s play Lego?
  5. Engage in Artistic Activities: Painting, drawing, crafts, sculptures, etc. In addition to being an excellent escape and working your concentration, they are also excellent avenues to sharpen your motor skills.
  6. Stare at a picture for a while… Then hide this image and try to remember the details. Ideally, play the game with someone else, exchanging a few questions: “What color is the lady’s hat”? “Where is the bird perched?”
  7. Enjoy the sun! A study conducted in 2012 with approximately 2000 respondents aged 65 and over suggests that vitamin D helps to keep the brain alert. In addition to being pleasant, outings are very beneficial!

Challenges to stimulate physical functions: (of course, careful not to exceed your capacities)

  1. Hiking and walking are excellent ways to keep yourself active. They are not too demanding and require no equipment, they also allow to regenerate and enjoy the sun.
  2. Being weightless in the water allows you to exercise with little effort. The buoyancy of the water helps to promote physical strength and balance.
  3. Yoga can adapt itself to any physical condition. It promotes meditation, and full body exercise which promotes flexibility, muscle strength and tone, in addition to improving respiratory capacities.
  4. Dance Anyone! In addition to lifting your spirits, it boosts your brainpower by stimulating connections in your brain. It’s also a great way to express yourself!
  5. Housekeeping Eh! The simple daily tasks make it possible to remain active. They often seem trivial, but the efforts safeguard your autonomy.
  6. The I.E.D. Program “This is an Integrated Dynamic Balance program, which is hosted by a health professional and is offered free of charge to people aged 65 and over who are concerned about falls or their balance” (groups of about 15 participants) Hurry! Ask the availability of this program in your region.

Regardless of your choice of activities, what is important is that you like it and that it is adapted to your condition:  it is essential to keep your motivation. Stay active always, regardless of the season. Simply adapt the activity to weather conditions or practice them indoors if necessary. Don’t hesitate to talk to your doctor, who can refer you to a professional for programs or activities tailored to you. A multitude of courses are offered in each region offering avenues for seniors who wish to stay active at all levels. Joining exercise groups can also contribute greatly to motivation, furthermore, it creates valuable relationships with new friendships. There are a lot of training movies or video available on the Web or digital media which can be very entertaining. Move at your own pace but move! The effort is worthwhile to maintain your quality of life as much as possible!

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