As we age, it is normal to notice a decline in mental acuity, or brain response and reaction time. While these changes are normal, there are varying degrees of decline. Many people state they feel their “processing power” is slower. This is to be expected as the brain ages, but there are a few things you can do to slow this process down and keep your mind as sharp and young as possible.
- Exercise. As always, exercise makes the list! Even just a few times a week is better than none at all. Anytime you get your body moving and your blood pumping, you’re increasing blood flow and increasing the amount of oxygen rich blood traveling through your body and to your brain. According to Harvard, exercise helps develop new nerve cells and increases the connections between the synapses of the brain.
- Mental Stimulation. Participating in mentally challenging or stimulating activities is a great way to give your brain a workout. Puzzles, word searches, crossword puzzles and anything else that makes you think and stretch your mind can also help create those new connections between synapses.
- Stay Social. Having a good friend network or social group is important for warding off depression and loneliness to start, but it’s also great to engage in thought provoking conversations with others to keep our mind active.
- Eat a Healthy Diet. Nutrition is the basis for most anti-aging and health conscious articles. This one is no different! Eating a well balanced diet full of fruits, nuts, vegetables, unsaturated fats and oils and foods high in protein is necessary for your brain as well.
- General Health. Keeping your overall health in check is critical for a healthy brain. Maintaining your blood sugar, cholesterol and blood pressure levels is essential in keeping your brain healthy.
- Avoid Alcohol and Smoking. Excessive drinking is a risk factor for dementia, while smoking is known to shrink blood vessels reducing the amount of oxygen carried throughout the body. Avoiding these is key to brain health.
- Lower Stress. Having high stress or anxiety levels, not getting enough sleep, or feeling depressed can all lead to a decrease in cognitive abilities. Find ways to reduce your stress and get plenty of sleep to give yourself the best possible outcome.
You may find that maintaining all of the things on this list is hard to achieve, but even if you’re able to work on a few at a time to begin creating healthier habits you’ll be on your way to keeping your body and mind young and healthy.
*This site does not provide medical advice. It is intended for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment. Always mention any changes or concerns to your doctor to rule out anything serious.