9 Hobbies to Keep Your Brain Active and Prevent Cognitive Decline

Keep Your Mind Sharp: 9 Engaging Hobbies for Brain Health

Martin Guay
Martin Guay - Chief Editor
13 Min Read

Everyone knows they should do what they can to stay healthy. They’ll eat right and even go for a jog or two during the week to help with that. One overlooked part of this is the brain. It’s something you’ll need to look after, especially as you get older.

You’ll need to keep your brain active if you want to keep it healthy. The more you use it, the better.

While that could be relatively obvious, what isn’t obvious is how you can actually keep your brain active. What should you even do to help with it? As it turns out, hobbies can be a great way to do this.

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Some hobbies require a lot of thought and consideration, giving your brain quite a workout. While you’ll need to spend a while doing them to have an impact, they’ll be enjoyable enough to convince you to do so.

If you want to look after your brain, it’s worth diving into a few of these hobbies.

Why Keep Your Brain Active?

Before diving in, it’s worth looking at why you should actually keep your brain active. You might feel as though it’s already working properly and doesn’t need to be taken care of. That isn’t the case.

Instead, it needs ongoing TLC and even a few challenges to stay active and healthy. By using it regularly, you’ll be giving it a workout. As you get older, this offers more and more benefits.

See it as exercising a muscle. The more you do it, the better it’ll end up being. As you age, this prevents quite a few conditions from coming up. You’ll be less likely to develop Alzheimer’s and similar issues.

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These can all get more and more likely as you get older, so they’re always worth preventing. By keeping your mind active, you’ll help with that much more than you’d think.

Hobbies are a great way of doing this. They’ll let you use your brain muscles quite a bit, and they can even be enjoyable to do. Some of them help more than you’d think, making them well worth focusing on. Nine, in particular, could keep your brain active more than you’d expect.

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Photo by Jonathan Kemper on Unsplash

Keep Your Brain Active: 9 Hobbies To Try

1. Exercising

Exercising was already mentioned above. While you’d expect that this helps with your physical health a lot, it can often help with your brain health. It lowers your stress hormones and offers more than a few other benefits on top of this.

It’ll be more effective at helping you look after your brain than you’d think. While this isn’t the most mentally stimulating hobby to try, it can still be a recommended one.

Then there’s the fact that it can increase your brain volume. You’ll increase your brain muscle mass much more than you’d think. That could help it function much better, as well as help prevent multiple conditions in time. At a minimum, it’ll prevent your brain from losing any mass.

Exercise increases blood flow and brain volume for improved cognition, focus, processing speed, and memory formation.

2. Puzzles

One of the easiest ways to keep your brain active is to do puzzles. They force you to think about the puzzles themselves and how you can actually do them. It’s mentally challenging, and that can often be one of the best things for your brain. It’s worth trying just because of that.

There’s also the fact they can be relatively mesmerizing. You’ll end up spending more time on a puzzle than you would’ve thought you would. It can be a great way to kill some time while also looking after your brain. You’ve no reason not to try this.

Completing puzzles flexes your logical thinking, spatial reasoning, and pattern recognition abilities.

3. Meditation

Not all hobbies that’ll keep your brain active and healthy focus on actually learning something or using your brain a lot. Instead, some of them could focus on letting your brain relax a little bit. That’s where meditation comes in, and it could be better for your brain health than you could’ve thought.

It lets you destress and get your thoughts together, which ends up helping your brain a lot more than you’d think. You’ll spread positive chemicals around your body instead of possibly harmful ones, letting you take better care of your brain and body than you’d expect.

Meditation strengthens areas involved with memory, concentration, and executive functioning by reducing stress and distraction.

4. Chess

Chess is one of the more overlooked hobbies that’ll keep your brain active, but it’s always worth considering. You’re probably already familiar with the rules, and you’ll know it takes quite a bit of thought and planning to win. All of this works out your brain, which helps keep it healthy.

If you haven’t played it before, you’ll have plenty of chances to work on your skills and improve. All this helps keep your brain quite active, so there’s no reason not to start learning. Since you can also have a great time playing chess, you’ve plenty of reasons to try it.

Chess enhances working memory, focus, problem-solving, and other cognitive skills by forcing you to anticipate moves and strategize.

5. Gardening

If you’re lucky enough to have a garden, then it can always be worth using this as part of your hobby. Gardening can be more mentally active than you could think, as well as taking some ongoing time and effort. You’ll need to plan out your gardening habits and then dive into it.

You’ll use quite a bit of brain power for this, especially when it comes to designing your garden and figuring out when you need to do your maintenance. You wouldn’t just end up looking after your garden, but you’ll look after your brain quite a bit, too.

Planning and tending to a garden exercises cognitive skills like organization, sequencing, decision-making, and visual processing.

6. Knitting

When you’re thinking of hobbies that’ll keep you active, knitting mightn’t be the first thing that comes to mind. Despite that, it could offer more brain health-related benefits than you might’ve thought. You’ll need to use a few cognitive skills when you’re doing it, letting you use your brain quite a bit.

Then there’s the fact it can be one of the more relaxing and meditative hobbies you can try, which helps your brain more than a little. Add in the fact you’ll have something warm to enjoy once you finish a knitting project, and you’ve nothing not to love about it.

Knitting engages several cognitive functions at once, including focus, planning, creativity, and working memory.

7. Playing An Instrument

Learning to play an instrument is one of the more obvious hobbies you can focus on. Countless people pick this up every year, so you’ll have quite a bit of company while you’re learning. It also puts your brain to quite a bit of use as you’re learning how to play.

If you’d prefer to learn by yourself, you could try online tutorials and classes. While you’ll have to put a decent amount of time and effort into this, it’ll be more than worth it. You’ll be playing your favourite songs before you even know it, and there’s nothing not to love about that.

Playing an instrument engages multiple areas of the brain, improving functions like memory, coordination, and even emotional processing.

8. Reading

If you’re not already an avid reader, then you’re missing out on quite a few benefits. By curling up with a great book, you can transport yourself to another world and start enjoying the story. This can be much more interesting than you could’ve thought.

Then there’s the impact that it can have on your brain. Studies have shown reading regularly strengthens your brain. You use quite a bit of your brain, and it’ll get stronger and stronger than you’d think.

It’s easy to see why this happens. You’ll be using your brain to actually understand the books you read, and it can even spark your imagination. That gives your brain even more of a workout, letting you see the benefits more and more. With how interesting these books can be, you’ve no reason not to start reading.

Reading regularly boosts brain connectivity and activates areas related to language, imagination, and empathy.

9. Learning A Language

Learning a new language can be one of the more interesting hobbies that’ll keep your brain active. It works out various parts of your brain, including your memory. It’ll help you keep your brain healthier than you’d think. Then there’s the fact there’s no reason not to learn something new.

It’s worth focusing on a language you think you’ll end up using a fair bit. If you go to Spain on holiday a lot, for example, then it could be worth learning Spanish. You’ll actually get to use the language you’re learning, helping your brain even more.

You could even go to group classes if you want to be a little more social about it.

Learning a new language exercises your memory, improves critical thinking skills, and enhances your ability to multitask.

Keep Your Brain Active: Wrapping Up

You’ll need to keep your brain active if you want to keep it healthy. That’s often easier said than done, and you mightn’t know where to start with it. Thankfully, you shouldn’t have to worry too much about this.

Instead, it’ll be a lot easier than you’d think. Hobbies can have quite an impact, and you’ll be forced to keep your brain active. They’ll make more of a difference than you might’ve thought.

At the same time, the right hobbies can be quite enjoyable. You shouldn’t have a problem wanting to do them more and more. While you’ll need to do them regularly for them to have an impact, you shouldn’t have a problem with that. You’ve no reason not to give them a try.

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By Martin Guay Chief Editor
I write, talk about technology, gadgets, the latest Android news as much as any other fellow geek, nerd, or enthusiast does. I work in the IT field as a System Administrator, and I enjoy gaming when possible. I'm into plenty of things, and you can usually find me around Ottawa, Canada!For all business inquiry email business-inquiry [@] cryovex [dot] com.
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