A mathematician has shared some of the brain exercises he uses to help people with dementia.

Gareth Rowlands, from St Albans, runs memory workshops at dementia cafes and care homes in Hertfordshire.

He became passionate about helping those with memory loss after he visited a care home which he wife ran in Barnet.

The retired teacher decided to spend his spare time organising an activity programme for the residents at the care home and began teaching them neurobic exercises which he learned throughout his career.

He shared with us some of the exercises he teaches to people struggling with memory loss:

  • Use your dominant and then non-dominant hand to write words and draw diagrams
  • Make simple changes to your routine, e.g. using your non-dominant hand to brush your teeth or to open doors
  • Draw a picture while listening to music

St Albans & Harpenden Review:

You can try using your dominant and then non-dominant hand to write and draw. Photo: Pixabay

Mr Rowlands said: “There are neurobic exercises using the five senses such as drawing a picture whilst listening to music. Combing two or more senses sends a message to the brain and stimulates it as it realises the challenge of the different routine."

He has created a list of 100 neurobic exercises and hopes the exercises will eventually be used by people across the country.

Mr Rowlands said: “There has been on-going research at Kings College in London that says attempting these exercises and training your brain for short periods of time can have many benefits.

“This includes less stress and positive moods. If you do exercises daily for 10 to 15 minutes for about a month you can notice a change in your memory. You need to think of your brain as a muscle which needs exercise.”

St Albans & Harpenden Review:

Try brushing your teeth with your non-dominant hand. Photo: Pixabay

He explained how he came to start his memory workshops: “It was sad seeing residents (at the Barnet care home) doing nothing at all. The care home invited me to organise an activity programme and the exercises they reaped considerable benefits.

“I now organise workshops at various venues including dementia cafes and doctor’s surgeries in order to help people who are suffering from any form of memory loss.

“There is a lot to do in terms of helping people, but my mission really is to persevere and leave no stone unturned to help people in the prevention of memory loss!

He added: “When I was doing a neurobic session recently at a dementia café at Welwyn Garden City I asked people if they found any benefits from the exercises.

St Albans & Harpenden Review:

Gareth Rowlands says it is good to exercise the brain regularly. Photo: Pixabay

“They said there was a slight improvement in the memory, were less stressed, they had positive moods, increased motivation and faster thinking.”

The former teacher passes on his exercises to others in the community as he believes in their benefits not just for people suffering with memory loss but also for everyday memory.

He said: “One of my big ambitions is to get this to snowball to not only spread throughout Hertfordshire and make an impression on the county but to make a national impact.

“People can use my ideas to benefit the people who are suffering from memory loss and hopefully be used to catch diseases such Alzheimer’s early and to stop it from spreading further.

“The earlier that people do this it can help stop the onset of the disease."