For many years, scientists and researchers from all over the world have studied the aging process and how the brain is affected by it. It has been discovered that our brains require training to stay sharp, just as our bodies require physical exercise to stay in shape.
If you want to keep your brain sharp for as long as possible, we have some suggestions for you to follow. Always remember that the brain, no matter how old you are, can adapt to new experiences. Do not be afraid to learn and experience new things, as these will help you stay sharp, even in old age.
1. Physical exercise keeps the brain young.
The brain requires physical exercise to stay young and absorb new information. From all the types of physical training out there, the aerobic exercise delivers a multitude of advantages on a long term basis. It is recommended to engage in at least half an hour of physical exercise each day to keep your brain sharp. Moreover, this will also help with the prevention of stress and anxiety.
2. Visit the doctor for prevention, not treatment.
In developed countries, the rate of chronic conditions, such as hypertension, obesity or diabetes, is quite low. This is because people are educated, and they visit the doctor for prevention and not treatment. By preventing such chronic conditions, you are going to protect the brain against additional problems such as memory impairment or cognitive decline.
3. Watch out for the things you eat.
While this might seem like the obvious thing to do, you need to maintain a healthy diet. It is recommended to choose high-fiber foods, maintaining a balance with your protein and fat intake. Avoid foods that have a high glycemic index, as these are quite damaging for the brain. Organize a list of foods for brain health, such as blueberries, walnuts, and fatty fish; go shopping with this list and stock up your fridge and pantry.
4. Sleep for at least 7-8 hours per night.
The brain can suffer more than you think when you skimp out on sleeping. It has been confirmed that the lack of sleep can have a negative impact on one’s cognitive abilities. The less you sleep, the more deprived the brain will be, thus leading to an increased risk of cognitive decline. Educate yourself to sleep at least 7-8 hours each night, for the synapses of the brain to function properly. Moreover, the lack of sleep has been associated with higher risks of depression, so watch out for that as well.
5. Get your morning coffee.
We all love our morning coffee. However, did you know that your biggest pleasure can actually ensure protection against cognitive decline? Your daily cup of coffee can be of invaluable help to your brain, reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, and other neurodegenerative conditions. The same benefits have been identified in green tea, so, if you are not a fan of coffee, you can replace the morning cup with some delicious tea. What matters is that you get your fill of antioxidants, either from coffee or tea.
6. Relaxation matters more than you think.
We live in the age of technology where everything happens at a faster speed. However, this means that our brain is under a lot of pressure with the stress to perform faster as well. If you want to keep your brain sharp, you need to take a step back and set some time aside for relaxation. Go for meditation or yoga, as these activities are relaxing for the entire body, not just the brain. Reduce the stress in your life, and you will thus protect your brain against cognitive decline.
7. Mental workouts on a regular basis.
At the beginning of the article we compared mental fitness with physical training, suggesting that they are equally important. Well, the best way to keep your brain sharp is through mental workouts. This might include brain teasers, crossword puzzles, or Sudoku. It does not matter for which mental workout you choose; the main idea is that you train your brain to form new synapses and avoid cognitive impairment. A trained brain is a young brain.
8. Reading for pleasure.
Depending on our job, we all have a lot of reading to do. Even though this keeps the brain sharp, it is not enough. It has often been confirmed that reading for pleasure delivers a lot of benefits to the brain, allowing it to stay young and sharp, regardless of the person’s age. Educate yourself to read at least a couple of pages from a book you like, as this is a great workout for the brain.
In conclusion, there are a lot of things that we can do, to keep our brains sharp and avoid the cognitive decline associated with old age. As you have seen, it is highly essential to engage in physical exercise, maintain a healthy diet, and eliminate the stress in your life. It might also matter to engage in mental workouts, read for pleasure, and drink a cup of tea or coffee each morning.
Tell us in the comments, what are you doing to keep your brain sharp?
Vivian Michaels is a health and technology expert, who has written several articles for various websites. He is a Fitness coach by profession and likes to help people achieve their individual fitness goals.