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Strategies for improving your multisensory and spatial abilities

In the previous article, Fiona spoke about the importance of multisensory and spatial abilities for successful ageing.

Here are five strategies for improving your multisensory and spatial abilities:

  1. Explore more: Visit new places regularly, even places that are close to your home which you rarely go to. This helps maintain good spatial cognition.
  2. Walk more often: Instead of taking the car or bus for short journeys, walk. Apart from the benefit of exercise, walking is more likely to engage more sensory systems and train the brain to efficiently integrate relevant information from the environment.
  3. Challenge yourself: Use a map to take new routes to the same destination on different days. Check on a map whether the route you usually take to your destination is the most efficient way.
  4. Try out something new: If you or a friend have a Wii balance board or similar technology, try it out and compare your balance performance with others. If you don’t have access to this technology, time yourself standing on one leg. How do you compare with others? Of course, exercise caution when attempting these activities to prevent falls.
  5. Spatial thinking: Think about what sensory challenges your brain must deal with when you walk around a busy street and compare those to walking around in a park or a woodland. Both environments present different challenges.

As an exercise, choose one of these strategies and try it out today.

  • Describe what strategy you chose.
  • How did you feel during the exercise?
  • How did you feel after the exercise?

Fiona Newell is a Professor in Psychology at the Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience in Dublin.

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Strategies for Successful Ageing

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