15 Mind-Boosting Activities to Keep Your Brain Sharp

Keeping your brain sharp is vital at every stage of life, but it is particularly critical as you age. You can try many activities and tips to strengthen your mind and keep it nourished. Here are a few ideas to help you on your brain-boosting journey. 

1. Exercise

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Exercise is a great way to keep the mind, brain, and body powerful. Exercise has crucial benefits for your physical and mental health and cognitive well-being. Some studies even suggest exercise can expand the size of your hippocampus, which is part of your brain’s limbic system, plays a significant role in memory, and shrinks with age. Plus, you get social interaction if you take a fitness class or walk with a friend. It’s a win-win!

2. Puzzles and Games

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Crossword puzzles, chess, and other games are great for keeping your brain sharp and learning new things. One study found that activities like this decreased dementia risk by 9%. These activities also have a low barrier of entry since crossword puzzle books and a deck of cards typically cost a couple of dollars each.

3. Reading

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A good book or magazine is a great way to destress and learn new things. As you might expect, it’s also a great tool to keep your mind sharp. One study found that people who regularly read books, magazines, and newspapers, as well as watch TV and listen to music, have a 7% decreased risk of dementia.

4. Getting Crafty

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Activities like painting, drawing, metalworking, and woodworking, among others, are mind-boosting activities. One study found a 7% reduced risk of dementia when performing these activities. Plus, these art projects are often relaxing and provide a great activity to do with loved ones. 

5. Playing Video Games

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Gamers rejoice! Video games help keep the mind sharp by assisting with memory and fine motor skills. Plus, you can play games with loved ones for double the fun. 

6. Spending Time With Loved Ones

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Being around loved ones is always a great time, but it’s also good for your brain. Studies show that talking to loved ones and going to social activities sharpens the brain. If you don’t have many family or friends, joining a group, club, sport, or volunteering is a great way to meet new people. 

7. Writing and Journaling

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Writing and journaling are good ways to destress, reflect, keep track of stories, and express creativity. These activities are also great for keeping your brain sharp, with one study noting an 11% reduction in dementia risk. Grab the pens and get to writing. 

8. Trying New and Healthy Food

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We all know we should eat nutritious food to help our brains stay healthy. Things like fish, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, and more are critical items for the longevity of your brain. Experiment with new recipes and cuisine, too. Learning something new is always great for the mind. 

9. College Courses

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Speaking of learning something new, going back to school is an option. Many people go back to school to get the desired degree or change career paths, but some go for fun. Learning something new, plus the social interaction of a classroom, is a fantastic way to keep the brain working. 

10. Listening to Music

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Listening to music can be a great tool to keep your brain sharp. Studies show that music can help with symptoms of anxiety and depression. Plus, music helps fight dementia, improve memory, and remember past experiences. 

11. Making Music

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Listening to music is fun, but playing can be even more pleasurable. Playing an instrument helps with memory and planning. It’s never too late to learn an instrument, and it’s good for the brain, too. 

12. Learning a New Language

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Learning a new language is a great way to keep your brain sharp. It helps prevent some of the negative impacts of aging, plus learning a new language is a great excuse to visit a new country. 

13. Traveling

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Travel is a great activity. Going to new places allows you to learn and try new things and introduces you to new people, cultures, and ideas. Not to mention, vacation is excellent for your mental health and stress levels. 

14. Getting Some Rest

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Sleeping is one of the most essential activities for your brain. Research suggests that getting enough quality sleep rids the brain of toxins that can contribute to Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. So, ditch the phone and relax before bedtime for some quality shuteye. 

15. Relaxing and Trying Therapy

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We all want to avoid stress, especially since it harms our mental health and can make aging happen faster. Many items on this list include relaxing activities, like drawing or reading. But sometimes, we need to be more proactive. Therapy can be a great tool to deal with mental health problems and stress, which will make the brain sharper and happier. 

Do What You Can

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You want to do everything you can to protect your mind, so this list may be daunting. However, even small steps or changes will improve outcomes and better your brain in the long run. You don’t need to learn French and travel to Paris to be healthy. A walk with a friend or a crossword puzzle while eating a nutritious breakfast is a great place to start. 

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Author: Abigail Conpropst

Title: Writer


Abigail is a writer with a background in journalism, political science, and history. She has a passion for lifestyle, health, politics, and helping others and strives to make her work accessible to everyone. She got her start at The Oswegonian as a writer, copy editor, and Managing Editor.