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10 ways to keep your mind sharp as you get older

 Happy mind

Are you recently retired and anxious about losing your razor-sharp mind (and wit)? Or are you simply just fed up of your usual hobbies and craving something new? At Gransnet, we take life by the reins, chuck ourselves into the deep end and come up shouting "Hell yes, we've still got it!" So here are 10 ways to help boost your brain power and keep that horrid enemy, Boredom, at bay.   


1. Take a course 

Too many courses, so little time? From Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) run by FutureLearn and the Open University, to part-time degrees, WEA adult education classes, and even courses in Clairvoyance (yes, we're serious), the world is most definitely your oyster. Or maybe you want to do a PhD in gransnetting...

"MOOCs are ideal for independent study and the emphasis is on lifelong learning, combining both education for its own sake and workplace learning and development." 

"I am 68 and just finishing my first year studying a degree in Criminology." 


2. Join an exercise class

Jet Lee

Image credit: Giphy.com

Ever fancied yourself a bit of a Jet Li? There are a variety of classes you can take, from beginners' level to advanced. Zumba is often popular for its blend of Latin dance styles (after a couple of weeks you'll be recounting the steps like a pro), Yoga for improving strength and mindfulness, and aqua aerobics for its community vibe. Oh, and of course there's Tai Chi, just in case you want to turn your badass rating up a notch.

"I try to get out and walk or cycle every day and I love my Yoga class." 

"I'm trying to learn Tai Chi but having difficulty remembering the sequence. However, I'm at the younger end of the age range in the class so it appears to be a common problem."


3. Pick up a sport

Starting a sport can seem like the least appealing thing to do (biscuit-eating counts as a sport, right?) But with activities ranging from golf to croquet to indoor curling, there's a sport to suit every taste and every level. Brilliant if you want to learn a new skill and challenge yourself.

"Join a local U3A - they are all about learning through mutual help and support. You can learn how to play croquet or indoor curling and many, many other things." 


4. Get involved in arts and crafts

Lace making

Good for the mind, good for the soul and absolutely fantastic for the house! Who wouldn't want homemade accessories that you can (subtly) brag about to all of your friends? Rediscover the lost art of lace-making (avoid if easily irritated by fiddly things), try your hand at watercolour painting, attend life drawing classes (we're very tempted), join a crochet workshop or make mosaics. Local adult classes can be a great way of meeting like-minded folk in your area.  

"Since I retired I have taught myself to sew and make things. I also learnt to digitise my own designs for my embroidery machine using software. I love sewing now and make mostly bags and quilts. YouTube is great for learning and Craftsy for sewing, painting, cake decorating, etc." 

"We have a local (private) Craft School and I have done several courses there." 


5. Play games

Whether you're a fan of Bridge, Chess, Whist or Sudoku, nothing quite gets the cogs going like one of these classics. Or maybe you'd rather try...computer games?  

"I am teaching myself computer software testing so I can test my son's games (he's studying Games Design). I would like to become a Webmaster." 

"I'm enjoying learning to play Bridge with a U3A group. Well, I say 'learning'! I'm so rubbish at it that I just have to laugh at myself." 


6. Language learning

Spanish genius

Image credit: tumblr.com

"Languages? Me?" we hear you cry. Fear not. With a variety of courses out there for adults and a number of different language apps available on smart phones and tablets, learning a new language can be super fun and super convenient. 

"I can speak German, French, and Spanish, and have just started to learn Greek." 


7. Research your ancestry

A more recent craze, but a fascinating one at that! Researching your ancestors and family history can seem like a daunting task, but with sites such as Ancestry and Genes Reunited - coupled with church records, military sites and record offices - genealogy information has never been so accessible. Ideal for the inner detective. 

"Researching your ancestors is an interesting hobby that is popular, but it can get a bit obsessive at times!"  


8. Learn to play a musical instrument

Tone deaf

If this won't stimulate the brain, then nothing will. Learning a new instrument does require some level of committment it's true (and maybe a slight musical ear), but it's never too late to give it a go. 

"If you have never played one, you could find a ukulele group for beginners - they are very popular at the moment and lots of fun." 


9. Be part of a local group

Whether it's the Townswomen's Guild, the WI, the local choir or even the local library, being part of a group will allow you to socialise, get out and about and generally have a barrel of laughs. And what's more, you can even find your Gransnet Local site and meet fellow gransnetters in your local area!

"Join a choir. You will learn to read music, get a real buzz from singing in concerts, travel to different places in the UK and maybe abroad and make new friends." 


10. Attend events


Have you been meaning to attend a local talk, seminar or workshop lately? Going to different events is a great way of enhancing your knowledge on a particular subject, feeling productive and even seeing different parts of the country. Oh and making some fabulous new friends who share similar interests to you <hurrah!> 

"I do one thing with my DH...attend an architectural history course, which means lovely days out visiting lovely cities/villages/cathedrals with speakers and an annual week visiting different parts of the country." 











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