June 28, 2011

Activities Keep Us Sharp. What are YOURS?

That recent NIH report about cognitive impairment included this especially upbeat note: “Preliminary evidence suggests beneficial associations of physical activity and other leisure activities (such as club membership, religious services, painting, or gardening) with preservation of cognitive function.”

I’d love to hear what physical or leisure activities YOU pursue and find fun. Won’t you please share your thoughts in a comment below? If you’re a newbie to this blog thing, as I still am, adding a comment is a snap: just click on the “comments” link at the end of this post. You can give your name, or you can remain anonymous. It doesn’t really matter. Your PARTICIPATION matters. Your IDEAS matter. Your great suggestion might help someone else (like me!).

Here are several activities I love:

GARDENING: Great exercise, and I love seeing the results... and often I'm surprised since I forget what I planted.
MORNING WALKS: Did you see the pictures I posted just last Thursday?
PLAYING BRIDGE: Nice socializing. Good workouts for the brain. (My regular partners also bring great food, too!)
INTERNET RESEARCH: Yeah, sounds a little wonky, but it's satisfying to find information. And overcoming the inevitable technical snafus sharpen those problem-solving skills.
THEATER, CONCERTS, BALLET: A wonderful, entertaining way to spend time with friends. We’re blessed with cultural riches here in Washington, DC. Lots of stuff is free, too.
TRAVEL: I'm no longer travelling to Nepal and its neighboring countries once or twice a year as I did from 2001 to 2010. But I'm always on the lookout for new places to visit. Last year it was Turkey and the Canadian Rockies. This year, Alaska, Sicily and Buenos Aries are in contention, but I've already enjoyed brief visits to old favorites San Francisco, San Diego and New York City.
FRIDAY VISITS TO THE BOOKSTORE: Love going to my independent store, Politics & Prose, to check out the new titles, read the just-published community papers, enjoy a light lunch in the cafĂ©, and bump into friends and neighbors. (This venerable DC institution is under brand new management but they are committed to maintaining the same staff and ambiance.)
AND FINALLY -- MY FAVORITE ACTIVITY: Sitting in the rocking chair on the back porch and watching the gold finches on the thistle feeder and the hummingbirds on the garden phlox and cardinal flowers.

So, there’s my list of special activities that bring pleasure, exercise, mental stimulation, and social interaction. Now how about sharing a couple of YOUR favorite leisure or physical activities? If the comment process is baffling (I understand), just send me an email, and I’ll post your ideas for everyone else to see. We’re in this together! I’m at jschappi@gmail.com.
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