This fun test checks your memory and how quickly your brain can put thoughts into words.
How many animals can you name in 60 seconds? In this video, SilverSneakers fitness expert David Jack explains how the animal naming test can give you clues about your memory and risk of dementia.
You’ll need a way to keep time and a tally, and ideally, a partner to keep time and a tally for you. Try the test now. Here are some scoring tips:
- If you name both a general type of animal, such as “dog,” and a specific type of that animal, such as “labrador,” both count.
- If you name the same animal at different stages of life, such as “lamb” (which is a young sheep) and “sheep,” only one counts.
- Yes, dinosaurs and other extinct animals count for this test.
You can see what your results mean below. If you have dementia or a condition that affects cognition, skip the test, but check out the tips below.
If You Named 14 or More Animals
That’s a sign your memory and brain are healthy. Want more good news? If you exercise to keep your body fit, you’re keeping your brain fit too. Regular exercise can lower the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, according to the latest fitness guidelines. It can also improve key aspects of cognition:
- Executive function, which includes the ability to organize, initiate tasks, and control emotions
The best types of workout? The ones you’ll do—because consistency is key. Mix and match as you like: SilverSneakers classes, walks on the treadmill, sessions on the elliptical, water aerobics or swimming on your own, and so on!
What else can help protect your brain: an overall healthy lifestyle. Check out these six ways to cut your risk of dementia.
If You Named 13 or Fewer Animals
That’s a sign your memory and brain may be at risk. That’s also a sign to talk to your doctor. There are many different potential causes of cognitive symptoms, and your doctor can determine if there’s an issue, what it is, and the best next steps. To make a conversation easier, let your doctor know any:
- Conditions you have, including heart disease and diabetes
- Medications you take, including prescriptions, over-the-counter drugs, and supplements
- Symptoms or signs you’ve noticed, including any of these early warning signs of dementia
Check out more tips to make your next doctor visit easier.
If You Have Dementia or a Condition That Affects Cognition
Worried that you shouldn’t exercise? It turns out, staying active can improve cognition in people with dementia or Parkinson’s disease, or after a stroke. The key is working with your doctor to find the right plan for you.
Start by talking to your doctor about your current health and any medications you take. Ask these three questions:
- What types of exercise are appropriate for me?
- How often and how much should I do them?
- Are there precautions or steps I should take?
Once you have guidelines for safe exercise, consider working out with others, whether it’s a walk with a family member or a class with new friends. The company can boost your mood and motivation.
Check Your SilverSneakers Eligibility Instantly
SilverSneakers gives you free, unlimited access to more than 15,000 gyms and fitness centers across the nation, plus classes and tools designed to keep older adults strong and independent. Check your eligibility instantly here. Already a member? Get your SilverSneakers member ID and exclusive content by logging in to or creating your online account here.