Simple tips to keep your mind sharp as you age! Enjoy.
5 Ways To Keep Your Mind Sharp As You Age
Have you ever walked into a room but couldn’t remember why? Or, forgotten a familiar name when you’ve bumped into an acquaintance at the grocery store? Rest assured, you’re not alone. We all have “senior moments” sometimes.
Memory lapses can happen at any age. Many people assume that cognitive decline is an inevitable part of aging, but that’s simply not the case. There are a host of factors that contribute to memory loss, and many of them are easily corrected and avoidable.
There’s no doubt that memory loss and cognitive decline are frustrating, but there is good news! Science has discovered that you can keep your mind sharp as you age by making certain changes to your lifestyle. Here are several strategies you can implement right away!
Physical and mental health go hand in hand, so when something is good for your body, it’s often good for your brain, too. Staying active, even by simply taking a walk every day, is crucial for keeping your mind sharp as you age.
In fact, researchers have discovered that the impact of your foot on the ground when you walk improves the flow of blood in your arteries. Increasing blood and oxygen flow to the brain improves brain health, as well as the health of your heart and other organs.
Here are some fun ways to stay active as you age:
- Strength training (also key for healthy bones and joints)
- Water aerobics and swimming
- Tai chi and yoga
- Hiking or walking in nature
- Playing golf
Optimize Your Diet to Keep Your Brain Sharp
There’s no question that nutrition plays a key role in aging smarter. In fact, poor nutrition is a leading factor in chronic mental and physical diseases. The problem is that many of us eat a diet that’s high in processed foods, sugar, bad fats, and empty carbohydrates. This leads to a variety of issues as you age, from poor cognitive function and inflammation throughout the body to premature aging of the skin.
Thankfully, there is an easy solution to this problem. Eat a diet that’s rich in nutritious food, such as fresh fruits and vegetables, lean protein (especially fish), and whole grains, plus healthy fats like olive oil, avocados, nuts, and seeds.
Eating a healthy diet, such as the Mediterranean Diet, has been linked to better brain health and a decreased risk of Alzheimer’s. Here are some key foods to include in your diet often:
- Salmon and other fatty fish: Provides omega-3 fatty acids, which are crucial for brain health and reducing inflammation throughout the body.
- Green tea: Supports mental focus. Also contains antioxidants that may lower the risk of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s.
- Berries: Rich in antioxidants that improve brain health, reduce inflammation, and may slow short-term memory loss.
- Eggs: Rich in nutrients that support brain health, including B vitamins and choline. Choline is especially important because it’s used to create the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which is necessary for memory and mood regulation.
Stimulate Your Brain Regularly
A surprising study published by the journal Neurology discovered that, while dementia can’t be cured, intellectual stimulation can slow its progress. Those who read, write, create art, and play games regularly experience mental decline at a much slower rate than those who don’t.
Here are some fun ways to stimulate your brain and keep learning:
- Join a book club to encourage regular reading.
- FaceTime with your grandkids and read them stories.
- Subscribe to and read magazines that interest you.
- Set aside time every day to write in a journal and/or read a good book.
- Play games and do puzzles that make you think. Sudoku, trivia, chess, and scrabble are great choices.
- Learn how to draw, paint, or play an instrument. There are lots of tutorials to pick from on YouTube, you could sign up for a class or lessons, or even color in an adult coloring book if that’s something you enjoy.
- Learn a new language.
- Find a hobby you enjoy, such as gardening, cooking, photography, or swimming to liven up your routine and keep your brain and body active.
Prioritize Healthy Sleep
Lack of sleep can lead to issues with focus, memory, and moods, whether you’re two or 82. According to the National Sleep Foundation, new skills and memories are moved to a different part of the brain while you sleep, which makes them easier to recall. That makes sleep especially important for keeping your memory sharp as you age.
If you’re an adult under 64-years-old, you should aim to get seven to nine hours of quality sleep each night. Seven to eight hours is sufficient for those over 65.
Here are some ways to ensure that you’re getting the healthiest sleep possible:
- Limit stimulants four to six hours before bedtime. This includes coffee, soda, chocolate, and cigarettes.
- Avoid heavy foods before bedtime. Heavy foods can cause digestive issues and keep you awake. Try to stick to light snacks late in the evening, such as fruits, veggies, and nuts.
- Establish a consistent bedtime routine. Go to bed and get up at the same time every day, even on the weekends.
Social interaction is so important for keeping your brain sharp and healthy as you age. In fact, studies show that older adults who socialize regularly have a 70-percent slower rate of cognitive decline than those who don’t. That’s pretty significant!
The risk of Alzheimer’s is also greater for lonely seniors. That’s because social interaction keeps the brain active and protects it against memory issues. By simply maintaining and making new personal connections, you can prevent loneliness and its negative impacts on your mental health.
Take a class, join a club, volunteer in your community, or find other ways to participate in group activities as you age to keep your mind sharp.
Sadly, there’s no way to reverse Alzheimer’s or dementia, but the good news is, there are things you can do to slow it down or prevent it. Leading a healthy, active lifestyle is a great place to start. And, don’t overlook the value of challenging your brain and spending time with others to maintain your cognitive health well into your later years.
What do you do to keep your mind sharp as you age? Let us know in the comments at the bottom of this article. We want to hear from you!
Nicole has been obsessed with beauty and fashion since she was a young girl, always flipping through Vogue and stealing her mother’s cosmetics bag to experiment. She’s a former wedding makeup artist who loves spending her free time trying new products and staying up to date on the latest beauty and style trends. While Nicole’s days are now spent contributing to fashion, beauty, and lifestyle sites from home while raising her kids, she can still always be found putting looks together, even if it’s just for a trip to the grocery store!
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