How do you keep your mind sharp as you age? Pickleball tournaments? Online puzzles? Taking supplements? The truth is that you won’t find a ‘magical cure’ for memory issues and other cognitive changes that come as you age. But there’s reason for optimism. According to research, there are many social factors and healthy habits, that when combined, can build, preserve, and protect the functionality of your brain over time.
Prevent The Loss of Memory
Scientists previously thought brain development reached its peak during late adolescence and then degrade from there. It was believed that if an individual lost their brain cells as a result of stroke, head injury, drug abuse, etc. nothing could be done in order to restore proper cognitive function. That is no longer the case as recent discoveries in neuroscience show that new brain cells can grow and the formation of new neural connections can occur. Just like any other muscle in our bodies, the brain can rebuild itself with repeated use and exercise.
This is excellent news for those who want to live long. It means that memory loss can be prevented by focusing on physical, mental and social tasks that promote healthy cognitive development. Even individuals with conditions such as Alzheimer’s can benefit from a healthy lifestyle.
It helps to think of the brain as a reservoir that gathers rainfall over time. The process begins before birth as the brain starts to develop. The exchange continues through life as it responds to the environment and experiences. That being said, here are several tips for senior care and preserving your brain power as you age.
Exercise on a Regular Basis
Working out on a daily basis has been shown to prevent or delay the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and other cognitive disorders. Just 30 minutes a day can make a world of a difference.
Tobacco is known to take a toll on various organs including the brain. However, if you stop smoking today, you can increase the chances of having a healthier brain in the future, regardless of how long you have been smoking.
Avoid Sugary Foods
High blood sugar increases the risk of dementia, even if you do not suffer diabetes. As such, it’s advisable to avoid overly sweetened foods like candy and sodas.
Take Care of Your Heart
A healthy brain needs an ideal cardiovascular system. If you have high cholesterol, high blood pressure, atrial fibrillation or diabetes, stick to your doctor’s instructions.
Avoid Some Drugs
Consult your practitioner regarding your medicine, both non-prescription and prescription. You will want to avoid hazardous interactions and being over-medicated for your brain health.
Avoid Alcohol or Drink Moderately
As we age, drinking tends to have a stronger effect on our bodies. It is advisable to take one drink per day, for women and a maximum of two per day for men.
The hormones released when you are stress have a stronger effect of brains of people who are older and this makes it harder to recover from emotional upset. Take change gradually and learn ways to cope with tension and anxiety.
Falls can lead to broken bones, head injury and other injuries that can trigger sudden or gradual loss of function. To avoid falling, do strength and balance workouts on a regular basis. Keep in mind that taking drugs and drinking affects balance. Always be careful on uneven surfaces and watch out for cords that can trip you. Wear shoes with ideal soles and avoid walking in stockings. If you ski or bike, always wear a helmet.
Keep Your Brain Stimulated
Puzzles and games are perfect for this. However, you should ideally engage in social activities that keep you engaged with others. For instance, learn new computer skills, join a book club, do gardening, crafts, cook, play chess, etc. These activities will keep your mind sharp.
Practice these habits tips daily and you will increase the likelihood of staying sharp and maintaining a healthy brain as you grow older.