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This year, instead of making resolutions, make your goal to try new things. Your brain, just like the rest of your body, needs new challenges and experiences to stimulate and boost it. Learning new things doesn’t just make life more fun, it builds connections between neurons—keeping your mind sharp too. 

“One important way of staving off cognitive decline is learning new skills as a child would,” notes University of California Riverside psychologist Rachel Wu in a paper she published in The Journals of Gerontology. “That is, be a sponge: seek new skills to learn; maintain motivation as fuel; rely on encouraging mentors to guide you; thrive in an environment where the bar is set high. 

Life Plan communities like Vinson Hall Retirement Community provide a full schedule of outings and events, so you’ll have many choices everyday including: lifelong learning classes, lectures, concerts, art classes, recreation and fitness activities, afternoon teas, happy hours, outings, and movie nights. Here, it’s easy to try new things, have new experiences, and spend time with friends.

So as 2022 unfolds, remember that trying new things is good for both mind and body. Thanks to decades of research, we know that staying active provides countless health benefits. Here’s to getting involved in new things — and continuing to participate in the ones you already enjoy this year.

Four fun ways to add new experiences to your life in 2022:

Stay mentally active and keep learning.

Building brain connections is an ongoing process that never stops, so make lifelong learning a priority. Try crossword puzzles or play chess, take on a large jigsaw puzzle or try cribbage or bridge. At Vinson Hall Retirement Community all of these activities are not only possible but available and happening now! Bridge and cribbage groups meet throughout the week in the Penthouse Lounge. And our jigsaw table, which became a community feature during the pandemic, is attracting more participants than ever.

Socialize regularly and have more fun.

Loneliness can contribute to a number of health-related issues for seniors, so make sure you carve out time to spend with your loved ones. There are plenty of opportunities to meet new friends and get together with like-minded people. Choose from regular outings, movie nights, and visits to local museums. Attend happy hour or a discussion group, be part of the event planning, and enjoy the health boosting benefits of socializing. Mirna Fuentes, Life Enrichment Coordinator for Vinson Hall and Willow Oak, is always on the look-out for fun and interesting activities for residents. Plus, she works closely with a group of residents – called the Big E Committee (E standing for Education, Entertainment, Excursions and Epicureans) – who provide practical tips and guidance on events that are fun for all residents. “Studies show that activity and engagement keep us mentally sharp and healthier, plus they are fun! Our activity calendar offers something new and different each week,” says Mirna.     

Include physical activity every day.

At Vinson Hall Retirement Community, there’s water aerobics, pickleball, yoga and a popular drum circle. You’ll find fitness classes for every level and there’s even pool volleyball. If group exercise isn’t your thing, serene walking paths are just outside your door. Physical activity increases blood flow to your whole body, including your brain. 

Eat a healthy diet.

A healthy diet is as good for your brain as it is for your heart. If you’re cooking, include plenty of the good stuff — whole grains, veggies and fruit. But if you’re ready to let someone else do the cooking, Vinson Hall boasts a variety of delicious and healthy dishes at The Penthouse Dining Room and The Bistro. 

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