A few years ago I visited a retired American couple here in Costa Rica. I noticed they had a lot of books with crossword and Sudoku puzzles all over their dinning room table. The latter is a logic-based,number-placement puzzles. The couple, Dan and Geri, told me they engaged in these activities to keep there minds sharp. Now I understand why.
Mental gymnastics like memory games, writing, studying a foreign language and talking about memorable experiences in the past are things that seniors retirees living in Costa Rica can do to delay the onset dementia and Alzheimers.
These mental activities can be combined with moderate exercise to ward off mental deterioration according to a recent study by the University of California. You don’t have to join a gym to reap the physical and mental benefits of exercise. Walking or jogging 30 minutes daily, three times a week can contribute to a healthy body and more lucid mind. Lifting light weights is also an important to maintain muscle mass. A couple of five or ten pound dumbbells are all that is needed.
Other benefits that physical exercise can do for older retirees are:
- Reduces the chance of stroke or diabetes or joint problems
- Gives your body greater mobility
- Helps fight weight gain and burns fat
- Improves oxygen to the Body
- Decreases blood sugar
- Increases good cholesterol
- Provides for a healthier heart and thus reduces the chances of heart disease
- Improves balance and coordination
- Improves muscle strength
- Eliminates fluid build up in your tissues
- Makes motion more fluid in your joints
- Lowers blood pressure and improves bone density
Friendships and the company of family members also aid in both emotional and mental well-being and keep the mind healthier and more dynamic according to the the University of California’s research. This should not pose a problem in Costa Rica, since it is easy to make new friends and foreigners tend to gravitate towards each other when living abroad. In addition, the research showed that participation in clubs and other group activities may also help delay the onset of dementia in older adults. In Costa Rica there are a wealth of activities both indoors and outdoors from which to choose, especially on weekends. So, senior retirees should find it extremely easy to stay busy and make new acquaintances.
It is interesting to note that there are nearly 25,000 elderly Costa Ricans with some type of mental deterioration that eventually causes memory loss. Perhaps due to a lack of public awareness this group of seniors has never been exposed to the beneficial activities like the ones listed above. Hopefully more and more information will be available to this sector of the Costa Rican society as more and more people live longer.
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Christopher Howard conducts monthly relocation/retirement tours fill in the form below to receive Chrisopher’s free book when you register for a tour and have him contact you personally. For details please see: www.liveincostarica.com. He also has authored and published 17 editions of “The New Golden Door to Retirement and Living in Costa Rica” and other guides about living in Costa Rica. See www.costaricabooks.com