In the year 2009, SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services) conducted a survey on …
Although mental decline in elderly adults happens all too often, there are steps you can take to keep your brain sharp as a tack. One of the reasons memory loss occurs in older people is because they slow down their mental and physical activities. Don’t let that happen to you! You can keep your brain young and vibrant as you head into your golden years if you stay active and practice self-care.
You should continue using and expanding your mental capabilities as you age. Just because you retired doesn’t mean you can stop learning and thinking. When you challenge your brain to think, you stimulate nerve-cell connections and even create new brain cells. To exercise your gray matter:
- Take classes
- Solve puzzles
- Create art
Get Off the Couch
When you get physical exercise, you are doing more than toning your muscles and slimming your physique. When you work out, blood pumps throughout your body, including to your brain. You don’t have to become a marathon-runner to reap the benefits of exercise; even walking around the block can help you to:
- Improve cholesterol levels
- Battle diabetes
- Lower stress levels
- Decrease blood pressure
Don’t underestimate the value of a healthy diet. You know the old saying that you are what you eat? It’s true. The foods you eat not only impact what your body looks and feels like; they also play a huge part in maintaining your brainpower. Some rules of thumb to remember include:
- Reduce your saturated fats from animal products.
- Reduce intake of trans-fatty acids from partially hydrogenated vegetable oils.
- Watch your calories; match your calorie intake to your activity level.
- Eat foods that are high in the B vitamins, such as fortified grains, kale, spinach, and other leafy greens.
Minimize Your Alcohol Consumption
Drinking too many cocktails can lead to dementia. If you are a social drinker, stick to only one or two drinks per day. If you drink more than that:
- Consider cutting back.
- If you have trouble reducing your drinking, get help.
- If you drink to relax, find healthier methods such as exercising or meditation.
Take Care of Your Head
In order to safeguard your head, which is where your brain is stored, protect yourself against physical and emotional stressors. For example:
- Wear a helmet if you bicycle or motorcycle.
- Get enough sleep to balance your emotions.
- See a therapist if you are troubled with anxiety and/or depression.
- Build social networks, because having friends helps your brain and your wellbeing.
With a few lifestyle tweaks, not only can you protect your brain, but you can live a happier life, as well. You have the power to keep your mind young.