You must have heard how important it is to exercise, eat well, and sleep enough. These actions obviously keep our hearts healthy, but did you know they also keep our minds healthy?
It is normal for your brain and body to change as you age. The good news is that you can take some measures to maintain your physical health, help slow the deterioration of your memory, and reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and other brain diseases.
Here are some tips to help you stay in shape and keep your brain active.
- Exercise Daily
Regular physical activity appears to benefit the brain in several ways. Many research studies have shown that physical activity reduces the risk of mental decline and Alzheimer’s disease. You can also maintain your mobility longer if you exercise regularly. It lowers your risk of serious illnesses such as cancer and heart disease.
Exercise increases blood flow to your brain, resulting in several benefits. Additionally, it counteracts some of the natural reductions in brain connections associated with aging.
Make sure you exercise for 40 to 60 minutes several times a week. Any type of aerobic activity that elevates your heart rate, such as walking, swimming, and playing tennis, is beneficial.
- Maintain routine checkups
Preventative medicine focuses on routine health checkups and screening to prevent problems before they begin. Prevention is the key to a successful treatment. Patients can secure a healthy future by visiting the doctor annually, receiving immunizations, and monitoring their family history.
Routine checkups are beneficial to everyone. Smokers, drinkers, and drug users may require additional checkups since these activities compromise the immune system.
In addition, routine checkups can significantly lower your risk of lung disease if you are a navy veteran or have worked in places that risked asbestos exposure. You must not lose hope even if you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma. Search for a doctor who specializes in mesothelioma so he or she can develop a customized treatment plan for you.
- Get enough Sleep
It is important to get enough sleep for your brain to function properly. Sleep is believed to help your brain clear abnormal proteins and consolidate memories, boosting your memory and brain health.
During sleep, growth hormone is produced, which is responsible for controlling fat and muscle levels. Sleep deprivation may accelerate the process of gaining a paunch. Research has also shown that if you miss two nights’ sleep, your immune system becomes weaker, making you more susceptible to infection.
You should try to sleep seven to eight hours each night, not two- or three-hour intervals. You can consolidate and store your memories more effectively when you sleep consecutively.
If you struggle to get consecutive hours of sleep, chances are that you suffer from sleep apnea. Sleep apnea can be harmful to your brain’s health. Consider seeing your health care provider if you or your family member suspects you suffer from sleep apnea.
- Keep a healthy mental attitude
Similar to a muscle, your brain needs to be used; otherwise, it will deteriorate. Playing card games, solving crossword puzzles, sudoku, and reading are all good ways to keep your brain active. Think of it as cross-training for your brain. Increase the effectiveness of your program by incorporating different activities.
Today, there are several paid brain-training programs available. Programs like these often promise things they can’t keep or emphasize memorization skills that aren’t useful in everyday life. It is just as good to exercise your brain by reading or solving puzzles. Lastly, don’t watch too much television. It is a passive activity that doesn’t stimulate your brain much.
- Keep your social life active
The benefits of positive social interactions include increased cognitive ability, mental health, communication skills, independence, and improved physical health, especially for older individuals.
Social interaction can prevent memory loss caused by depression and stress. Make it a point to stay in touch with family, friends, and others, especially if you live alone. Research suggests that solitary confinement may cause cognitive decline. Therefore, keeping an active social life is important – it benefits your overall well-being in the long run.
Interacting with colleagues at work is not enough social engagement. You should try to build relationships with people outside of work. Strong bonds with neighbors, your kids’ friends’ parents, or others who share your interests benefit your well-being. Check out your circle of friends and look for ways to expand.
- Eat the right foods
A well-balanced diet can obtain the energy you need to stay active throughout the day. It also helps you stay strong and healthy by providing nutrients you need for growth and repair and preventing diet-related illnesses, such as cancer.
A diet high in salt and saturated fats can cause high blood pressure and cholesterol. Keep your blood pressure and cholesterol under control with a fruit-and-vegetable-rich diet. It can lower your chances of developing heart problems.
You can maintain a steady weight by eating a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, a healthy amount of unsaturated fats, meat, and dairy. Regular consumption of these foods will leave less room for fat and sugar-rich foods, resulting in a healthy BMI.
By eating a calcium-rich diet, you can prevent bone loss (osteoporosis) associated with aging. Usually, calcium is found in dairy products, but you can also get calcium from:
- Tinned salmon, pilchards, or sardines (without bones)
- Kale and broccoli – dark green vegetables
- Foods containing calcium, such as soy products, fruit juices, and cereals
Getting enough vitamin D through your diet – including salmon and fortified grains – will help your body absorb calcium.
When it comes to aging gracefully, staying healthy and happy is heavier on the scales than looking wrinkle-free. Do things that bring you joy, keep an active lifestyle, and spend time with the people you care about. If you are worried about the challenges of aging, don’t hesitate to seek advice.