So you’ve worked hard and raised a family for the past few decades. Now you’ve retired and you are wondering what to do with all your spare time. Keeping healthy is probably top of your list of priorities — and you know that getting and staying physically fit is a great way to do so.
But staying fit doesn’t only apply to what’s happening from the neck on down — the health of your brain also plays a huge role in determining the quality of life in your later years. We’ve rounded up five apps that will help you keep mentally sharp and in physically great shape — all the better to enjoy your retirement in the company of your loved ones. While not all of them are free, they are all guaranteed to keep your mind and body active.
- Lumosity: Daily Brain Games (iOS) / Lumosity: #1 Brain Games & Cognitive Training App (Android)
Free for first 5 sessions
If you get just one app from this list, make it Lumosity. Created by leading neuroscientists, this app will help improve your memory, enhance your mood, improve your problem solving skills and help you think more quickly. The app delivers unique, personalised training as well as scientifically-designed games that helps more than 97 per cent of users improve their brain function in just 10 hours. After all, mentally stimulating activities will strengthen brain cells and the connections between them, helping to prevent age-related mental decline.
Pros: Science-based programme delivers results fast.
Cons: First five sessions are free, subscriptions cost extra.
Best for: Those who want to keep mentally active.
- MyFitnessPal (iOS) / Calorie Counter - MyFitnessPal (Android)
Exercising regularly and tracking your calories consumption just got a lot easier with the free My Fitness Pal app. With food diary and activity log that’s a snap to use, it’s a great way to make sure you are getting enough exercise every week and are eating healthily. Not only does the app have a huge food database, it can also calculate the nutritional value of your custom-made recipes. My Fitness Pal syncs with the Withings WiFi Body Scale and Fitbit accessories, and also uploads your data online for easy, secure access.
Pros: Easy to use, free and works with many fitness accessories.
Cons: Doesn’t support all fitness accessories, such as the Nike+ Fuel Band.
Best for: Those who need a little reminder to make healthy living choices.
- Tai Chi Fundamentals
Free (iOS only)
Learn the fundamentals of this ancient workout with Tai Chi Step-by-Step. It’s a simple, yet effective exercise regimen that works no matter what your fitness level is. Tai Chi will help build strength, suppleness and stamina, and this app is perfect for those new to the sport. Listen to the verbal cues, watch the routines and then practice as much as you can — all you need is 30 minutes for a simple workout. Practicing Tai Chi will also help you de-stress and mentally relax.
Pros: Well-designed routines, short and easy to follow, for both indoors and outdoors.
Cons: May not include all forms of Tai Chi
Best for: Those looking for a low-impact workout that won’t stress the joints.
- Words with Friends
Another way to build up and maintain mental dexterity is to play strategic mobile games — from backgammon to Angry Birds, there are plenty of free and fun apps to choose from. One of the best is the Words With Friends app — not only is it free, it encourages lateral thinking, enhances your vocabulary and encourages you to socialise (with its built-in chat function).
Pros: Turn-based game is convenient to play. The chat function and Facebook integration make playing with friends even more fun.
Cons: Not based on a Scrabble board, so tactics might vary. Those who don’t like word games might prefer a Sudoku app instead.
Best for: Those who enjoy word games such as crosswords.
It is amazing how today’s technology is helping us stay active across all age groups. From crossword and Sudoku apps to countless fitness and workout apps — many of them are absolutely free and suitable for the whole family to try out together. So take your pick and jump on the band wagon if you haven’t already done so. It’s fun, good for your health — and surely does not require anyone to be a tech expert!