Are you wondering how you can keep your brain active after you retire? I share 10 tips, in-depth information, and practical ideas in this article.
1) Learn New Skills
You’re never too old to learn new skills! So why not start a course or apply for a class and learn something new during your retirement.
According to Harvard Medical School “Practicing a new and challenging activity is a good bet for building and maintaining cognitive skills.“
When you’re learning, you keep your brain active, and it helps to keep a ‘young mind.’ And the coolest way to learn something is from the best and most famous people in the world.
Do you want to learn to be a great chef, a better guitar player, a good poker player, or get better at gardening or something entirely different?
Masterclass is a streaming platform that makes it possible for anyone to watch or listen to hundreds of video lessons taught by the most successful and famous teachers in the world. It will make your retired life instantly fun and interesting.
From cooking classes to art, science, music, sports, business classes, and everything in between. Get a annual membership to Masterclass and follow classes such as Ron Finley teaches Gardening, Aaron Franklin Teaches Texas-Style BBQ, Kelly Wearstler Teaches Interior Design and so many more.
To name a couple more experts on Masterclass: Martin Scorsese, Dr. Jane Goodall, Christina Aguilera, Usher, Hans Zimmer, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Stephen Curry, Carlos Santana, Jimmy Chin, Serena Williams, Dan Brown, etc.
A perfect way to learn new skills during your retirement and keep your brain active.
2) Stay Physically Active
When you’re physically active, you’re staying physically and mentally fit.
By exercising regularly you preserve cognitive skills and potentially lower dementia risk and it also improves blood flow to the brain, reduces stress levels according to this article of the Cleveland Clinic.
Also with a fit body, you’ll feel more energetic and thus its easier to stay mentally fit as well.
There are many ways to stay physically active and here are some ideas:
- Playing Golf
- Dog walking
Blue Zones In The World
Have you ever heard of the world’s blue zones? Places in the world that have the most centenarians, people that reach the age of 100+, often in a healthy way!
Five places in the world are known as a ‘blue zones.’ These are; Sardinia in Italy, Ikaria in Greece, Okinawa in Japan, Nicoya in Costa Rica, and Loma Linda in California.
People living in the blue zones are always physically active, but they exercise in a moderate way. So they avoid extreme sports or high impact sports. It seems to be better to exercise moderately daily instead of doing an intense work out once a week.
The CDC shares clear guidelines on how much time people should spend on physical activities or exercise. According to the CDC, physical activity is essential for healthy aging.
The CDC says that older adults (in the age of 65+) need at least 150 to 300 minutes of physical activity a week.
It is easy to create a daily schedule where exercising becomes a regular thing. You can easily add exercise to your schedule for just 30 minutes or 1 hour a day.
For example, go for a walk every day. Daily walks are good for your body and your mind. Maybe you live close to a park or the beach, where you can enjoy the natural environment while walking. Leave your car and do more while walking or going for a bike ride. You can use trail link to find the best biking trails close to where you live.
3) Maintain A Healthy Diet
Maintaining a healthy diet can help a lot in staying both physically and mentally fit.
According to the an article in the Medical News Today: eating a brain-boosting diet supports the brain function for both short- and long-term period. Because the brain is an organ that needs a lot of energy to function properly it needs plenty of good fuel to maintain it’s concentration. The brain uses around 20 percent of the body’s calories and that’s why it requires certain nutrients to stay healthy.
So, try to eat healthily and maintain a healthy diet throughout your retirement. Things to avoid when aiming for a healthy diet are saturated fats, to much sugar, and overeating. When you’re looking for information on healthy food, I recommend visiting the website of the CDC. They have a lot of helpful information about eating healthy.
As I mentioned earlier, the people in the Blue Zones have a lot in common, like staying physically and socially active, but also because they have a healthy diet. They avoid eating saturated fats. They eat less dairy and drink less alcohol.
When you want to know more about their diets, you might find this book an interesting read; The Blue Zone Kitchen; 100 Recipes to Live A 100
4) Get a Daily Dose Of Nature
Nature does wonders for our (brain) health. You probably experienced for yourself that after a walk through the forest or a quick dive in the ocean you feel refreshed and see things more clearly.
Being in nature reduces anger, fear, and stress, and increases your mood. Nature will make you feel better emotionally. And it also contributes to your physical health: reducing blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension, and the production of stress hormones.
In nature you have a things called negative ions. And negative ions are the key to well being. They strengthen the body’s immune system and stimulate the supply of oxygen to the brain, and activating the mind and the body as well as bringing more mental energy. Most negative ions (from 5,000 – 50,000 per cubic centimeter) are present in the mountains, at sea, and in forests.
According to Harvard Medical School research suggests that you should spend more time outdoors when you want to boost your mood.
Find more in-depth information on the benefits of sunlight, fresh air, and the ocean in my article: 15 Tips On How To Deal With Depression In Retirement.
Meditation helps to clear out your mind. It avoids stress and helps you process al the daily impulses. According to this article in Healthline meditation lowers blood pressure, reduces anxiety, decreases pain, ease symptoms of depression and also improve sleep.
There are many ways of meditation, and sometimes people think its something weird to do. But I can promise you it is not.
Meditating is entirely normal and good for your mental health. You can say that meditating is the best exercise for your brain. It helps to keep your brain active and decluttered.
I, myself, meditate daily and use the smartphone app Headspace. It helps me to easily meditate, and I can do it everywhere I like. Headspace makes it super easy and simple for everyone to learn how to meditate.
6) Get Good Quality Sleep
We all know that sleep is essential. When you sleep, your body rests, and your brain processes the daily impressions. You need sleep to recover and be energized to find happiness in retirement.
However, many people struggle with sleep and looking for tips on how to improve their sleep. Because when you experience sleep deprivation it disrupts levels of hormones such as serotonin, dopamine, and cortisol in the brain, that has an affect on your thought, mood, and energy.
So, good quality sleep is essential to be keep your brain active in retirement. And according to the Sleep Foundation, adults need to sleep 7-8 hours a night.
If your experience trouble sleeping and it affects you daily, it might be time to see a doctor. Finding professional help is important when you have serious problems. It will only help you in the long term!
For me, it helps when I limit my screen time like one hour before I go to sleep. So not using my phone, tablet, television, or laptop. I just read a book or listen to some relaxing music instead. And sometimes I just do nothing, relaxing a bit.
Meditating is also very helpful in improving sleep. When you’re meditating, you’re processing all the impressions from that day. Do you recognize that when you’re trying to fall asleep, your brain becomes very active, and your thinking of what you did that day? When you meditate only a couple of minutes before you go to sleep, your brain already processed many things. So you can fall asleep more easily.
For you to sleep better you want to make sure it’s quiet at night. Your sleep can be greatly influenced by your partner snoring the whole night. If snoring is a big problem for you or your partner you can get an anti-snoring mouthpiece from VitalSleep that helps you to breathe easily and sleep quietly. It helped over 400,000 snorers get a restful night’s sleep. You can read hundreds of VitalSleep reviews here.
Another essential for good quality sleep is to have a comfortable mattress. Make your retirement more comfortable and more well-rested with the Puffy Mattress. It’s ranked as the best and most comfortable mattress in America. Read the 5-star reviews and get yourself a comfy mattress today.
7) Stay Socially Active
According to this article in the New York Times social interaction critical for mental health. “People that having satisfying relationships with family, friends and their community are happier, have fewer health problems, and live longer.”
Regular social stimulation keeps your brain active after you retire. And once your retire you lose the daily social interactions you had at your job. Therefore, it’s essential to seek new ways to be social in retirement to keep your brain active and stimulated.
Many new retirees struggle to stay socially active in their retirement. When you’re struggling with this, don’t worry. It is entirely normal. You might find the following article I wrote helpfully; 20 Ways; How To Stay Socially Active in Retirement.
8) Find Your Passion
Having a passion in your retirement helps you to stay busy. A passion is different for everyone, but it is very important. I always say, when you’re retiring, make sure that you have something to retire to.
If you have something to retire to, and you have found a new purpose in life, you’ll probably be able to enjoy your retirement much more.
But I understand that it is easier said than done. When you’ve worked for, let’s say, 35 years, you’re identifying yourself with your job. You might have never thought about ‘having a purpose after your retired.’
If you struggle with finding a daily routine and things to do during your retirement, you probably need a passion in retirement. Because when you found your passion you have found a new purpose in life.
In my article, How To Find Your Passion in Retirement, you can find 14 helpful tips.
9) Read Books
Another great way to keep your brain active during your retirement is by reading books. Nowadays, it is super easy reading a lot of books by using an e-reader that can contain a hundred or thousands or digital books. It’s the cheapest way of traveling to a whole new world without leaving your home.
The mental stimulation you get from reading helps to heighten overall brain function, protects your memory and thinking skills, especially as you get older.
I love using an e-reader because it is super easy to use and lightweight. So I don’t have to bring a lot of heavy books when traveling or going for a walk somewhere. However, reading paperback books is also great to do, sometimes you just want to hold a ‘real book,’ right? Check out the newest releases.
When you want to start using e-books, I recommend buying an e-reader from Amazon Kindle. Perfect quality, and with the huge kindle library, there’s unlimited reading you can do in retirement.
10) Do Puzzles
Doing a puzzle reinforces between brain cells and it also improves mental speed, your memory and thought processing. Especially, Jigsaw puzzles are great for improving short-term memory.
There are so many different puzzles you can do. And here are a couple of ideas: