As we get older, our bodies naturally begin to slow down. It’s important to keep activity levels high in any way possible in order to maintain physical fitness and health (check out our article about the best foods for hearing health). However, it’s also incredibly essential for older adults to keep their minds just as fit and healthy as their body, to contribute to overall well-being. Audicus presents our list of top ten hobbies and activities that keep your ears and your brain as sharp as possible, as you move into your golden years!
10. Video games:
Video games are no longer just for your children and grandkids! A study shows that video games can halt the negative effects of aging on people older than 60. Make sure you keep the volume down to avoid damage to your ears that can cause hearing loss.
Interested in old cars, boats, or motorcycles? Restoring old machines is a great hobby for older adults, exercising your brain in many ways. Focusing on detailed work, showing off your creativity, and general troubleshooting are all ways you can restore cognitive health. Avoid hearing loss or hearing damage by wearing earplugs or earmuffs if you’re working with loud tools.
Walking regularly is incredibly beneficial for all aspects of health, and the AARP has even designed a program for people over 50 to organize their own community walking groups. Walking also has the added benefit of being a social activity, which has been proven to stimulate brain function.
In this day and age, being computer savvy is integral for keeping up with friends and family that may be scattered around the country or the world. Studies have also shown that older adults who use computers were less likely to experience mild cognitive decline as they aged. Find a game that you like, articles to read, or just keep up with social media!
6. Bird calls:
Listening to bird calls has a positive impact on your overall health and well-being, and bird calls can even signal safety or danger to us. Listening to bird calls is a soothing hobby that won’t damage your hearing.
If you have a dramatic streak, performing is a great way to counteract the effects of aging on your brain and your ears. Exercises like memorizing lines, songs, and dance numbers can keep your brain occupied and improve cognitive function. In addition, your hearing needs to be sharp in order to hear and understand your fellow actors, so this may alert you to any hearing loss.
Swimming is a great hobby for many reasons—it promotes physical fitness as well as improves mental and cognitive health, especially when done in a group. Group swim classes, popular with older adults and senior citizens, are fun, social activities that keep the brain sharp. Just make sure you wear waterproof earplugs and take precautions to avoid swimmer’s ear. Remember to take your hearing aid out before diving in!
Did you know Georgia O’Keeffe continued to paint until she was 96 years old? The act of creating art, whether it’s painting, sketching, sculpting, or even quilting, has a great impact on brain health. These hands-on activities boost cognitive activity in your brain, particularly tasks like following, understanding, and imitating something (like visual art).
A lifetime of reading may stave off dementia and memory loss, according to studies. Reading helps to keep brain circuits active and increase thinking, learning, and memory abilities. Reading, like many of the items on this list, is a good hobby for avoiding hearing loss—it is quiet and gives your ears time to rest if you’ve been in noisy places.
An ancient practice, mediation is now considered a very brain-focused activity. Studies have found that long-term meditation can “preserve” the aging brain—those who meditated for an average of 20 years actually had more grey matter volume throughout their entire brain! Mediation is also great for your ears, because it’s a quiet and calm activity that allows your ears to rest and recuperate after long days in noisy environments.
Do you have any hobbies to add to this list, Audicus readers?