By Sherley Alaba
As you age, you may notice your brain is not as sharp as it was when you were younger.
To counter the effects of aging, you’ll need to modify your lifestyle to incorporate activities that are known to improve your brain’s health. Brain Fitness can prevent you from developing serious conditions like Alzheimer’s disease and dementia in the future.
It can also help you better manage stress and prevent depression.
9 Tips to Improve Your Brain Fitness as You Age
Eat Fish Once a Week
Eating fish at least once a week does wonders for your brain. Studies suggest that those who eat fish regularly have a 60% less chance of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
Martha Clare Morris ScD, an epidemiologist and associate professor of internal medicine at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago found that weekly consumption of seafood can slow cognitive decline by about 10% every year. This is because fish is rich in DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid found in large quantities in the brain and in cold water fish, like salmon, tuna, and cod.
Mentally Challenge Your Brain
Too often we get caught up in our daily routines not realizing that our brain needs to be stimulated to stay healthy.
Mentally challenging your brain helps you maintain good intellectual potential and prevent memory loss that comes with aging. Challenge your brain by learning something new, like a musical instrument, a new recreational activity or by playing brain games.
Scientists now believe that socializing has the same effects as other forms of mental exercise. Socializing helps build cognitive reserve; a part of the brain that stores brain function which you can draw from when other areas of your brain begin to deteriorate.
When you are interacting with people, you are stimulating the part of your brain which is responsible for planning, decision-making, and response control. Engaging in social activity reduces the release of cortisol (destructive stress hormone) in your body.
It is not news that regular workouts will keep your body healthy but regular exercise also helps maintain your brain fitness.
Regular exercise has benefits similar to anti-depressants in treating mild depression.
Exercise helps promotes neural growth and new activity patterns that trigger feelings of calm and peace. Exercise also releases endorphins and other chemicals in your brain that re-energize it.
Reboot Your Brain
Too often your brain holds onto unnecessary information that holds you back from absorbing any new knowledge. Constantly accumulating new information leaves our brains overloaded with usually useless information.
Most of the information that we gather during the day is not worth keeping. A healthy brain will be able to filter out what information matters. Find ways to reboot your brain to prevent it from over-exhaustion. This can be done by taking frequent breaks at work or simply getting a change of scenery over the weekend.
Allow your brain some downtime for it to refresh so you can be more productive later.
Don't Worry, Be Happy
A negative attitude will take a toll on your brain. Train your brain to think more positively and adopt a more ‘glass half-full’ attitude.
Consider meditation or practice other techniques that let you observe your thoughts and focus on what is important. You need to dig deep to find positivity in the worst of situations to enable your brain to stay strong when confronted with stress.
Improve Your Body From the Inside
Keeping your body healthy from the inside is important in retaining your brain fitness. You need to adopt a healthier lifestyle to keep your blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar low.
High blood pressure leads to cognitive decline as you age. To keep your blood pressure low, eat healthy foods, exercise regularly, limit alcohol intake and reduce your stress levels.
Those who live with diabetes and cholesterol are very likely to develop dementia in their later years. You can combat diabetes and limit cholesterol levels by eating healthy, staying lean and exercising regularly.
As an adult, we tend to ignore the importance of water and drink significantly less than what is required. Water helps fuel the body and your brain.
Not drinking enough water has drastic effects on your brain’s functionality. It supplies the brain with the electrical energy needed to function properly, including thoughts and memory processes. When you are dehydrated, your brain can no longer run at its optimum speed. You are more likely to experience brain fog, fatigue and have trouble concentrating.
Constant dehydration leads to more serious issues like depression, emotional instability, and overall exhaustion.
Get Enough Sleep
Sleep is another aspect of health that adults tend to ignore. We may not need an entire 8 hours of sleep, but most experts recommend at least 7 hours to help us function properly.
Those who do not get enough sleep struggle with concentration, coordination and poor memory. Sleep deprivation also leads to heightened feelings of stress and irritability.
Keeping your brain healthy doesn’t require you to make drastic changes. Choosing to eat foods that promote mental health, exercising regularly and rebooting your brain when necessary will go a long way to keep your brain fit and healthy. Make an effort to choose healthy options for the sake of your physical and mental well-being.
There are many things you can do to improve your Brain Fitness as you age.
- Eat Cold Water Fish Weekly
- Keep Your Brain Challenged
- Maintain an Active Social Life
- Get Regular Exercise
- Give Your Brain some Downtime
- Keep or Develop a Positive Attitude
- Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle
- Drink Plenty of Water
- Get 7-8 Hours of Sleep
About the author: Sherley Alaba, is a writer and translator, always interested in ways to help individuals (especially youth and women) reach their full creative potential. Her focus has been on writing, producing and editing stories on business, finance, interesting personalities, entrepreneurs, culture, the environment, gastronomy, lifestyle, and social issues.