5 Hobbies that Keep the Mind Sharp 

In your golden years, it’s common to feel like you’re losing your mind! You might struggle to remember words and names, lose your train of thought, or have difficulty with your short-term memory. This is certainly normal and trust us, you’re not alone! There are many ways to minimize your brain fails and it’s important for seniors, especially retired seniors, to keep busy with mentally stimulating activities. While many activities have different benefits, the following activities are particularly great for cognitive function.


Whether you’re into nautical fantasy, non-fiction, or current events, you should try to read on a daily basis. Reading is known to increase brain function and stimulates cognitive growth. It’s also been proven to help with problem-solving, broadens the imagination, improves memory, and can even make you more empathetic to others. If you aren’t a bookworm or don’t have the attention span for a lengthy novel, that’s ok! Check out an article by your favorite online publisher, skim the front page of the newspaper, or read a single chapter of a novel of your preferred genre. Take some time out of your day to focus on reading – your mind will feel sharper and you might learn something!

Play an Instrument

Do you have a musical soul? Were you in your High School marching band? Learning how to play an instrument is no easy task. Scientists have suggested that adults learning to play an instrument for the first time can experience the same cognitive benefits as children when they start to learn. If you already have the foundational skills, relearning songs and fine-tuning your musical ability also does wonders for your brain. Studies have shown that playing an instrument makes neural connections across different areas of the brain and improves memory, sequential processing, pattern recognition, and problem-solving skills.


As meditation has become one of the most popular mental health exercises of today, scientists have also confirmed its benefits. Daily mediation is known to increase gray matter in the brain which helps with learning and memory, and seniors who meditate are more likely to retain more gray matter in the brain than those who don’t. Meditation is also great for focus and concentration, anxiety, and depression.


If you’re looking for a creative activity that helps with brain function, take up knitting! Knitting is among few activities that actually minimizes mild cognitive impairment. Knitting requires using multiple areas of the brain at once which enhances focus, concentration, multitasking skills, and hand-eye coordination. Knitting can also be very relaxing and once you get the hang of it, you can do it anywhere at anytime: Try it while watching tv, on your commute, or in a social setting. To make it even more fun, grab a few friends for a knitting party!

Learning a New Language

Learning a language is a great way to keep your mind keen. It takes 5 different areas of the brain to learn a new language including Broca’s area, Wernicke’s area, the primary motor cortex, the posterior middle temporal gyrus, and the middle and posterior superior temporal gyrus. Because you stimulate so many different parts of your mind, you strengthen abilities like patience, focus, concentration, memory, and retainment of information. While it might feel daunting to learn a whole new language at this time in your life, there are certain apps like Duolingo and websites that have comprehensive and step-by-step lesson plans. It’s worth a try!

Adopting hobbies that get you thinking and stimulate your brains cells is paramount to your physical and mental health as you age. It’s just as important to exercise your brain as it is to exercise your body, so even if one of these activities doesn’t interest you, find an alternative! Any activity that requires a little mind muscle will do.

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