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Keep Your Brain Smart-Try These Cognitive Activities!

As people get older, they sometimes experience a decrease in their cognitive abilities. For instance, many individuals find that their memory isn’t as good as it used to be or they may be losing their ability to concentrate on a simple task. A person’s judgment, perception and ability to reason are other examples of cognitive skills. Fortunately, there are many activities that serve to sharpen the cognitive abilities of older people. In fact, these activities can help anyone who wants to keep their cognitive abilities in excellent working condition!

Puzzles and Games

There are many types of puzzles and games that exercise a person’s cognitive abilities. For example, working a crossword puzzle improves an individual’s ability to recall words and definitions. Also, crosswords challenge a person to concentrate on figuring out a word using a cryptic clue. Alternatively, a jigsaw puzzle requires a person to look at an unfinished puzzle from many perspectives to determine where each piece fits. A game of chess prompts a person to use his or her reasoning skills to plot out the most advantageous moves. Other puzzles and games that exercise a person’s cognitive abilities include word finds, Sudoku, Scrabble, board games and card games such as Solitaire.


Pursuing a hobby allows seniors and others to use their cognitive abilities while enjoying an interesting activity. A person who loves photography uses his or her cognitive skills to determine how to set up a scene for a photo that has the perfect amount of light. Also, a person must use his or her judgment to figure out the best time of day to capture a subject or a nature scene on film. Reading is another excellent hobby for people who want to sharpen their cognitive abilities. As a person reads, he or she must picture the action and interpret what the author is trying to convey about the characters. Reading can help people to expand their vocabulary and learn about new places in the world. Individuals who love to knit use their powers of judgment and logic to bring a basic pattern to life. Other hobbies that boost an individual’s cognitive abilities include drawing, scrapbooking, playing piano, miniature building and painting.

Dancing and Singing

Activities that require a person to move around have also been found to stimulate a person’s thinking. Line dancing is one example of an activity that keeps a person thinking about the next step in the routine while staying in sync with other dancers. A person who joins a church choir or sings with a group has to use cognitive skills to learn lyrics and read the notes in a piece of music. Both singing and dancing also give an older person the chance to socialize with others that share a common interest.

Finally, taking a short walk around the neighborhood or riding a stationary bicycle for thirty minutes can stimulate a person’s thinking. These simple physical activities can also give people the energy to pursue other mentally stimulating hobbies and activities!

The content on this page is for informational and educational purposes only and does not constitute professional medical advice. Patients should not use the information presented on this page for diagnosing a health-related issue or disease. Before taking any medication or supplements, patients should always consult a physician or qualified healthcare professional for medical advice or information about whether a drug is safe, appropriate or effective.