6 Ways to Keep Your Brain Sharp as you Age
Have you ever walked into a kitchen and forgot what you were there for or forgot about an appointment because it slipped your mind? It happens. While memory lapse can occur at any age, we tend to be more sensitive to it as we get older because of the fear that it’s related to something much more serious like Dementia or Alzheimers. The good news is, there is abundant research suggesting that aging in itself is generally not a cause of cognitive decline. Even better news, there are things you can do to improve your brain health for the long term.
Follow these tips to keep your brain sharp as you age:
1. Focus on your Diet
Diet plays a huge role in keeping your brain healthy. According to a PNAS study, the brain uses about 20 percent of your body’s calories to maintain function, which is why it is important to fuel your body with nutrient-rich foods like:
- Fatty Fish
- Nuts & Seeds
- Dark Chocolate
Interested in other foods that promote a healthy lifestyle? Visit our blog post, “Heart Healthy Shopping Tips” for more ideas.
2. Get Moving
Regular exercise is not only good for your physical health, but it’s also great for your mental health. When you exercise, your body increases blood flow and oxygen to your brain and brings all the good nutrients with it. Try getting at least 15 minutes of exercise each day. It doesn’t have to be intense. A simple walk outside, gardening, or even playing with your grandchildren can get your heart rate up and your blood flowing.
3. Reduce Stress
Stress can have a huge impact on your brain health. When under a lot of stress, it’s common to feel disorganized and forgetful. Prolonged stress may even change your brain in ways that affect your memory. Try to reduce the amount of stress in your life. Consider whether you are taking on too much during the day and allow yourself time to relax. Try ending the night with a relaxing bubble bath or take a few moments during the day to meditate or listen to calming music.
4. Get Plenty of Sleep
Lack of sleep can lead to memory problems, brain fog, and other cognitive issues. To keep your brain sharp as you age, experts suggest older adults should aim to get 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night. If sleep is an issue for you, try avoiding caffeinated beverages in the evening, limit heavy foods, and stick to a consistent schedule each night.
5. Grab a Book
Reading is another great way to stimulate your mind and keep your brain sharp as you age. Not only is reading a good way to destress but it also engages brain functions that can help with concentration and improve your memory. Try setting aside some time each day to read a book, newspaper, or magazine. Hold yourself accountable by joining a book club through your church, local library, or bookstore.
6. Stimulate your Mind
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, mental stimulation is important for brain health. Challenge your brain through puzzles, math games, word searches, chess, or another activity that takes some thought. Social interaction is another great way to stimulate the mind and improve brain function. The key is to constantly be learning and challenging your mind through stimulating activities.