Preventing Age-Related Mental Decline
The brain is perhaps the body’s most important organ. It is the command center of the body and it controls every aspect of our bodily function. The power of the brain is huge, awe-inspiring, and complicated.
However as we age there is that inevitable course of age-related mental decline that our brain will go on to. There are several ways to keep your brain healthy as you age and we will talk about those here.
Age-related mental decline is a phenomenon that can happen to any of us if we don’t do what we can to stop it.
Age-related mental decline can be prevented by engaging in healthy habits that keep the brain constantly in use without much of a break. Most people realize this but don’t know where to start the process.
The following are some good ways to take care of your brain so that you don’t suffer from age-related mental decline:
- Don’t stop exercising. Exercise is much more about looking good in a fabulous dress or a swimsuit. There is research evidence to suggest that there is a strong link between the amount of time you exercise and the risk of suffering from cognitive decline as we age.
This means engaging in regular aerobic exercise that causes your heart rate to go up and to increase the amount of blood that flows to the organs of the body and to the brain.
- Become well educated. Education doesn’t have to stop when we get out of school. You can educate yourself in college or simply by taking a community education course or a night course at a local college.
Reading books is well known to stimulate the brain and can reduce the risk of age-related mental decline. It doesn’t matter which kind of books you engage in.
- Stop smoking. There are many reasons to quit smoking but helping your brain stay healthy is perhaps one of the best reasons. Stopping smoking can improve the circulation to your brain and can bring you back to cognitive levels similar to those who have never smoked a cigarette.
- Protect your heart. Staying heart healthy cannot only be good for your body but can be effective in protecting you from age-related mental decline. The risk factors for heart disease and stroke, such as high blood pressure, being overweight, and having diabetes, are bad for your brain as well as your body. The more you take good care of your heart, the better your brain function will be.
- Avoid head injuries. According to research studies, you can drastically reduce your risk for age-related cognitive decline by avoiding getting a head injury. This means always wearing a seat belt in the car and always using a protective helmet when riding a bicycle or playing sports that could cause a head injury. Do what you can to prevent falls that could cause a head injury.
- Eat healthy. Many people believe that you can lessen the risk of age-related cognitive deficits by eating some of the known superfoods. This is a bit of a misconception as there are not studies showing that eating specific superfoods will make a difference in brain health.
What is true, however, is that eating a balanced and healthy diet with lots of fruits and vegetables can lessen the risk of cognitive deficits. Certain diets, such as the Mediterranean diet or the DASH diet may be diets you should consider for better cognitive health.
- Get enough sleep. When you don’t get enough sleep, it is easy to fail to think correctly and behave at less than your full capacity. There seems to be long-term risks of not sleeping as well. When we don’t sleep because of things like sleep apnea and insomnia, we may have difficulty with thinking and memory.
- Protect your Mental Health. There is a link in some studies to a history of depressive disorders and later suffering from cognitive decline. This means you should take care of yourself and seek mental health treatment if you are a victim of anxiety, depression, or any other mental health condition. You should also be aware of stress and find ways to control it.
- Keep your friends. Having regular dinner dates with friends can do more than just be a fun activity. Those who stay socially engaged with others seem to have better brain health. This means trying to be as social as possible doing things that mean something to you.
You need to find ways to stay a part of some kind of community. Do some volunteering or take classes that will engage you with others. If you like to sing, for example, do what you can to join a choir or help out with a theater program at your local school. Be around people as much as you can.
- Try puzzles. Many people believe that certain puzzles or games can decrease their chances of having age-related cognitive decline. The truth is that there isn’t just one puzzle or game that helps but instead you need to stimulate your brain in as many ways as you can think of.
Try crossword puzzles, jigsaw puzzles, or anything that is artistic or challenging. Play games with others, such as bridge, which teaches your brain to strategize and think ahead.
Just remember that age-related mental decline is preventable. Take care of your brain as suggested above to keep your mind keen and sharp in your older years.