Aging can be tough on the brain. Fortunately, studies show that our habits can help prevent or slow age-related cognitive decline. Taking care of the smartest part of your body is an important part of the aging process. Here are 8 things you can do today to keep your brain healthy tomorrow.
Learn Something New
Seniors aren’t forced to keep learning if they don’t want to. Most of us are prompted to keep learning from the time we’re born until the time we retire. But when you don’t have the pressure of getting that promotion, keeping your grades up, or staying sharp in the workplace, it can be tough to motivate yourself to keep learning.
Pick up a book, look for classes at your local library or nearby colleges, or find a reputable place online to learn something new!
Get Plenty of Nutrients
A diet that provides a wide range of nutrients has been proven to help keep your brain healthy. Our bodies need a balanced diet that provides us with plenty of vitamins and nutrients. If you need a restricted diet for other health reasons, check with your doctor for a multivitamin recommendation.
Take Care of your Mental Health
Caregiver burnout is a very real problem among adults who spend most of their time caring for others. Make sure you’re taking time to care about yourself first.
Rest Up When You Can
“Caregiver” and “well-rested” don’t usually go together. It’s tough to force yourself to rest when you’re busy worrying about your family and friends. But it’s so important to make sure you get enough sleep.
If you think you’re getting enough time in bed but wake up without energy, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor. Conditions like insomnia and sleep apnea make it hard to get a good night’s rest without treatment.
Challenge Yourself Regularly
Work on a jigsaw puzzle, crossword, word search, or sodoku. Get together for a card game with other friends or family members. Use your creativity for some type of crafting project.
Your brain needs to feel stimulated. It’s an important part of keeping the connections in your brain strong as you get older.
Spend Time with Others
Humans are social creatures. Even the most introverted people feel the need to connect with others. If you’re feeling lonely, find a way to connect with family or friends. If that’s not possible, look to your community.
Find an organization to volunteer with, look for those free library classes, or help out at an after-school program.
Keep Your Heart Healthy
Take care of your heart. Many of the risk factors associated with poor heart health (obesity, high blood pressure, etc.) are also shown to cause cognitive health issues as well.
Break a Sweat
Along the same lines, make sure to take time to exercise a few times per week. Studies show that regular physical activity is a great way to reduce your risk for cognitive decline as you get older. The increase of blood flow to your brain gives you a boost of oxygen and keeps your brain healthy.