Keep Your Mind Sharp with 6 Tipsby Carissa Andrews - June 9th, 2014
As we get older, we’ve been told it is normal for our brains to shrink in size and our memory to be compromised. However, Alzheimer’s and Dementia are not inevitable to our future. In fact, brain mass loss can be slowed down or halted all together with a little bit of knowledge.
Here are 6 tips provided by CanadianPharmacyKing.com to keeping your mind healthy as you age:
1. Move that bodyAccording to research, exercise is the #1 way to increase your brain function, regardless of your age.
a. Aerobic exercise has been known for a while to be a brain booster. As little as 15 minutes three times a week can increase your cognitive function. In a study conducted by the University of California, Irvine (UCI), the researchers believe this is tied to an exercised-induced brain chemical called norepinephrine, which has a strong influence on memory.
b. Studies are now coming out that weight training is another great way to improve your mind – particularly in older adults. Some of the research is pointing to the same norepinephrine release and also the inherent lessons of learning something new. Many older adults have not worked out with free weights or other workout machines. By having to learn these new items, they are forcing their brains to take on new information.
2. Get your restSleep resets your brain and helps your memory and concentration. Set up good sleep habits by going to bed and getting up at the same time every day. Minimize exposure to sleeping pills because they can make you groggy the following day and even cause memory loss. Instead, try relaxation techniques like meditation and deep breathing.
3. Put your heart into eatingA heart-healthy diet also keeps your mind functioning optimally. We all know that if you heart isn't working great, your brain will not get the nutrients it needs.
a. Load up on antioxidant rich fruits and veggies.
b. Choose whole grains instead of processed refined grains.
c. Eliminate unhealthy trans and saturated fats.
d. Choose low-fat protein foods like fish, skinless chicken or turkey breast, extra-lean cuts of meat, and beans.
4. Use it or lose it
a. Learn something new. Research is showing the more we train our brain to learn new things, the more we increase our brain's health. So get out there and learn something you've always wanted to learn.
b. Play like a kid again. Games that stimulate your mind are not only fun, but also effective. Try things like dominoes, checkers, chess, puzzles, crosswords, word searches, and Sudoku. There are also plenty of online games for the more tech savvy.
c. Give yourself tricks for remembering like having a routine, writing things down like grocery items as soon as you think of them, setting alarms for taking medications, and writing reminders for yourself.
5. Let go of stressHaving high levels of stress hormones for too long can hamper your memory. When you're feeling stressed, find things that help you relax. Maybe try something new like: Reiki , yoga, tai chi, or meditation.
6. Get out and aboutBe an active participant in your community. Engage yourself in conversations and activities. It will keep you thinking, talking, laughing, and planning -- important ways to keep your mind focused and nimble. Studies show that people over fifty who have strong ties with family, friends, and their community have less memory loss than people who are more isolated. The more active and engaged you are, the more your brain is working.
Carissa Andrews is an passionate author and freelancer from Minnesotan with a focus in creative writing.