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Trivia- A Fun Way To Exercise Your Brain

By CYN LoPINTO
Editor-in-chief, gerontologist

I really agree with the whole “Use It Or Lose It’ concept in regards to aging. While this is obviously important for our physical health, it is just as crucial for our mental health. Our brain needs exercise just as much as the other muscles in our body. We need to make sure we are challenging our mind and learning new things as we go through life.

My husband and I decided to go to a trivia night at a local restaurant last month and had a lot of fun. Since our team consisted of just the two of us (and only double the brain power), we were miles away from finishing in 1st place. We were just happy that we weren’t in last place. It was more about trying something new and testing our knowledge.

We were mostly surprised with the answers that came up and random facts that were being housed inside our brains. I find it so interesting the tidbits we end up holding onto and the ones that leave. Our memories are so selective. We easily recall the things that held our interest but get rid of facts that we didn’t much care about. That is why I can remember all the lyrics to the theme song from The Brady Bunch, but not the name of the 15th U.S. President (James Buchanan – by the way). But for someone that loved history and didn’t care much for 1970s sitcoms, the opposite would be true.

We decided to go back another week with three of our friends and had even more fun. Since everybody has varying life experiences and knowledge, you never know what things will come up. I was amazed how each one of us brought something unique to the table and helped to contribute. There is a fascinating collaboration part of these games too. As you discuss ideas within your group, you work together and feed off of each other to get to a final answer. It felt like being back in school and working on a group project.

The other positive outcome from this experience is that it made me want to “study-up” on areas that I wish to learn more about. Geography has never been a strong subject for me. Now that I am older, and  learning is not based on getting a good grade on some test, I would like to be better at naming countries and their location on a map. I can take a few minutes here and there to go online and refresh my brain and learn on my own terms.

We hope to attend trivia nights on a regular basis and continue to challenge ourselves over the summer. It is nice to know that we are exercising our brains and enjoying some equally important social interaction.  Both are key to living a healthy, happy and meaningful life.

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Cynthia Lopinto

Cyn LoPinto, M.A. is a gerontologist focusing on significant issues affecting older adults and their families. Her areas of interest include lifestyle enrichment, family dynamics, and caregiver support. Cyn has worked in both the recreational and healthcare industries.

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