Aging takes a toll on the brain. The brain literally shrinks as we age, losing up to 10% of its size. Research on aging shows that seniors experience declines in many key areas of cognitive function.
Here are 10 activities you can incorporate into your life to help keep your mind sharp and your brain nourished:
It has long been understood that the mind and body are interconnected. What benefits the body will benefit the brain. Regular exercise goes a long way to keeping the brain healthy.
Source: Neuroscience 2010 June 2
2. Read a book:
Reading is beneficial on multiple levels. When you read, not only do you absorb the information contained in the book, but the act of reading itself builds connections within the brain that make it more versatile.
Source: Journal of Direct Instruction Summer 2001
3. Eat right:
Many foods, including nuts, fish and red wine, have been linked to a healthy brain. But concentrating on an all-around healthy diet may be the best nutritional strategy for keeping the brain sharp. And don’t skip breakfast! Source: British Journal of Nutrition March 2001
4. Maintain good posture:
Maintaining an upright, un-slouched posture improves circulation and blood-flow to the brain.
Source: Cognition 2007
6. Paint, draw, or doodle:
Whether it’s a masterpiece or a mere doodle, simply making a picture is an excellent workout for the brain.
Source: The Lancet 2011 September
7. Listen to music:
8. Learn something new:
Many colleges and senior centers offer engaging, low-cost lectures and classes for older adults. Whether you’re learning a new language or beefing up your computer skills, ongoing education is a surefire way to keep sharp.
9. Do puzzles:
When you challenge and stimulate yourself intellectually, you exercise your brain and increase your mental capacity. Crosswords are a popular choice, but puzzles of all kinds may be similarly helpful.
Source: Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society 2011
Writing improves working memory and your ability to communicate. It matters not whether it’s an email to family, a private journal or the “Great American Novel.”
Source: Scientific American 2008 June
It’s important to note that there are no clinically proven ways to reverse the course of brain diseases like Alzheimer’s, but leading a healthy lifestyle that’s both socially and intellectually stimulating combats normal, age-related mental decline, and may decrease the risk of developing Alzheimer’s and other kinds of dementia.
Do you have advice about how to sustain an aging brain? Please share your comments below.
- Well-connected brains make you smarter in older age(sciencedaily.com)