Whether you are 25 or 75, it’s always a good time to think about ways to keep your mind healthy. People with strong minds live a richer and more fulfilling life. These 7 tips will help you take control of your brain’s health and keep it sharp and active.
1. Get Physical. Studies are showing that regular exercisers can have a lower risk of dementia and may even be able to grow new neurons in the hippocampus, the area of the brain crucial for memory formation. You don’t have to be a super athlete to keep your brain and body in shape. Even mild exercise can help keep your brain sharp. So, let’s keep moving!
2. Clean Your Plate. The connection between what goes in your body and how your brain performs is a strong one. Eating the right foods can have a positive impact on your mind as well as your body. While most fats negatively affect health, Omega-3 fatty acids are shown to help improve brain function. It’s believed that choline, a B vitamin usually found in eggs, enhances memory and minimizes fatigue, while other B vitamins may also improve one’s mental performance and mood. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables daily to ensure proper nutrition for your brain.
3. Get Your Head in the Game. With the steady increase in diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia, the market for brain fitness programs continues to grow. Learning and experiencing new things is a great way to challenge your brain. Going beyond just a daily workout, these ideas will give your mind a real chance to exercise as well as add a whole new dimension to your life. Research proves that these activities can stimulate the brain in such a way as to improve cognitive function and defer the effects of aging on the brain. Be sure to cross-train the five main cognitive brain functions.
4. Hit the Hay. We know that lack of sleep can result in a day of grogginess and little concentration, but did you know that sleep is also needed for memory consolidation. Princeton research team found that a lack of sleep affected rats’ hippocampus, a brain region involved in forming memories. The average adult functions best with 7-8 hours of sleep a night, so get some shut eye and make some memories!
5. Have a Chat. Time spent socializing with friends can help keep the brain healthy as you age. According to AARP, a major public-health study involving more than 116,000 participants found that people with strong relationships had less mental decline and lived more active, pain-free lives without physical limitations. This is especially important to consider as we get older and become more likely to spend time alone. Having a chat over some tea or joining a club may make life a little more fun, and a little longer.
6. Feel the Music. Music can boost one’s brain power just by making listeners feel more relaxed, while also stimulating the mind. Similar activities, like listening to a story may also have the same effect. Taking music lessons are also a great way to keep the mind active, no matter what your age or previous experience.
7. Think Positive. Positive thinking has been linked to better brain health over the long term and may have a beneficial effect on your ability to process information as well. A 2007 study found that people who frequently experience positive emotions were 60% less likely to develop mild cognitive impairment, while a separate study found older adults with lower levels of chronic stress scoring better on memory tests.