According to recent studies, most cognitive loss as we age occurs because we stop exercising our brains. Building a supple, flexible brain will require you to try new things, get vulnerable, and put unpolished skills to work. Here are 5 ways you can keep your brain sharp as you age.
Healthy foods such as nuts are high in nutrients needed by the brain for optimum function. Bananas and walnuts are two of the most important foods to help remove waste from the brain and boost brain activity. According to Harvard Health, ‘Eating high-quality foods that contain lots of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants nourishes the brain and protects it from oxidative stress — the “waste” (free radicals) produced when the body uses oxygen, which can damage cells.’ Unfortunately, most of our everyday diets are high in sugars, excess calories, sodium and cholesterol. Here we list our top 20 foods high in sugars to limit or avoid.
Take Up a New Tactile Hobby
Even if you have to tape it to your hand, pick up a paintbrush. Get a lap loom and learn to weave. Go to a yarn shop and learn (finally) to knit or crochet. Fire up the synapses that run from the creative learning and expansion part of your brain to your fingers and feet.
Engage in Design Thinking
If you’re thinking about making some changes in your home, grab a notebook. Visit your local hardware store and pick up the paint swatches for your newly done space. In your notebook, sketch out the dimensions of your newly updated room and tape in the intended paint colors.
Visualize what the space will look like with the walls bare and ready for your new color. Where will you have your artwork? Where will the artwork and shelving go? A house full of new things can be hard on your budget. It can also be hard on your brain. Problem solving and puzzles will protect your brain from atrophy.
Be a Beginner
Study something you’ve always wanted to know but have never had the time to learn. Look for a Gibson guitar for sale and listen to the best players of today’s generation. Take piano lessons, study up on painting, learn to dye fabrics, or cook a new cuisine. Be willing to start from ground zero. Learning new skills, particularly ones that require you to work with your hands and earn a new way of thinking, such as music, can keep your brain active. Learning an instrument is a great way to engage your brain and meet new people in your community.
Exercise the brain
Get moving. Make daily exercise with plenty of water a non-negotiable action every day. If you have a dog, take them out with you for a daily walk. If you don’t have a dog, find three days a week to volunteer at your local animal shelter. This action will do more than giving you exercise; it will help you to fee very needed and lift your spirits. Review our top 10 exercises to help you lose weight
Contact your local senior center and look for a gentle or chair yoga class. If you have a gym membership, visit with the teachers of tai chi and yoga to see if they can make it easier for you to test drive their class to avoid the risk of injury or embarrassment.
Meet New People
If you only enjoy your own company, you only know what you know. Hanging out with only the same people will never stretch you to understand a new mindset. If possible, look for ways to learn a new skill and make a bartering arrangement. For example, if you know how to embroider, tat or make bobbin lace, look for someone who wants to build these skills and ask them to teach you something. If they can stir fry or have high computer skills, learn to build a spreadsheet so you can work on your budget.
For those who are single, it may be a good idea to try dating. While there are senior sites that have helped to bring people together. Be extremely careful in this process; the person you think you’re connecting with may not be the person at the other end of the exchange. If you meet someone that seems kind and they are suddenly looking for money or asking you to meet them far from your home, back away.
Read a Book
Reading a book offers many health benefits to include reduced stress levels, enhanced brain function and many health benefits. According to Harvard Health on Reading, ‘people who read books regularly had a 20% lower risk of dying over the next 12 years compared with people who weren’t readers or who read periodicals. This difference remained regardless of race, education, state of health, wealth, marital status, and depression.’ Therefore, if you wish to enhance your memory and sharpen your brain; consider reading a book today.
Get plenty of sleep
Sleep is very important for the body. It helps the brain to perform at optimum function and the body to repair and build muscles and tissues. According to the National Heart, Blood and Lung Institute, “Studies show that a good night’s sleep improves learning, helps your brain work properly likewise healing and repair of your heart and blood vessels etc. Therefore it is important to get adequate sleep not only for the health of your brain but for your overall health.
How much hours of sleep do i need?
According to: Health.gov ‘Most adults need 7 to 8 hours of good quality sleep on a regular schedule each night.’ Thus, depriving yourself of sleep could have serious implications to your brain and overall health.
Learn to play an instrument
Learning to play a new musical instrument helps reduce stress, increase creativity, boost memory and brain function. NCIB, ‘Playing a musical instrument provides health benefits without the adverse effects that accompany pharmacologic therapy, likewise evidence exists to support the hypothesis that playing an instrument elicits brain changes that positively influence cognitive functioning and decreases stress.’
Learn a new language
Studies indicate that learning a new language can help improve brain function and memory. The reason being, the brain has to use neurons to learn the language while remembering your main language.
As we come out of the pandemic, the chance to meet new people and do new things is critical. Managing the situation will take focus and a bit of suspicion. Try to stay local and meet folks who can connect in person before you travel or make another type of connection.