Five Tips to Keep Your Mind Sharp
Remember your first kiss? Think back to a time when you laughed so hard your belly hurt. Can you recall a moment of true happiness in your life?
As we age, we assume our bodies will change, and we know that's a natural part of life, yet the thought of our brains changing can be concerning. We all want to keep our treasured memories intact, even strengthening our minds so that we can make new memories.
Science shows we have a lot of control over the function of our brains throughout our lives, and we don't need to resign ourselves to experiencing mental decline or losing our grip on those most precious memories. In fact, there are many lifestyle choices we can make every day that will help our brains stay healthy and high-functioning throughout our lives.
Here are five tips to help you keep your mind sharp:
#1 Get moving! Physical fitness supports mental fitness. Science has proven that the most important thing we can do to keep our brains healthy is to get regular aerobic exercise. There are so many ways to incorporate movement into our days: take a walk, learn tai chi or yoga, dance, golf or take the bike for a spin. Whatever activities you choose, aim for 30 minutes per day. Remember, if you're just starting an exercise plan, be sure to discuss it with your doctor beforehand.
#2 Feed your brain. Your brain is hungry for good nutrition. Starches, heavily-processed foods and sugars are not good brain food, so limit them and focus instead on nutritious choices. Some goodies for your brain include fish such as salmon, fruits and veggies, whole grains and superfoods. And don't forget to eat a good, healthy breakfast! It's considered to be the most important meal of the day for many reasons, including your brain health.
#3 Take a snooze. Getting the right amount of sleep is vital to proper brain function. The deeper phases of sleep are shown to help your brain process information, keeping your memory sharp. And sleep is proven to strengthen your body's ability to record information in the future. On the flip side, long-term poor sleep is linked with cognitive decline, so get a full night's rest, and don't be afraid to nab a nap when the mood strikes.
#4 Manage stress. Reducing stress and finding ways to relax is beneficial to both our physical and mental health. If you feel like you need some relief from stress, consider meditation, relaxation exercises, deep breathing and even getting a pet. Focusing on the power of positive thinking, incorporating more fun into your life and even taking a nice, hot bath can help you stay grounded and protect your brain from the negative effects of stress.
#5 Keep learning. You've heard the old adage: use it or lose it. Turns out it's as true for your brain health as it is for your physical well-being. So if the classroom is a distant memory, consider the many ways to continue challenging your brain. Study a foreign language, take lessons for a new musical instrument, get together with a friend for a game of chess, explore different cultures through travel or learn a new art form like photography, painting or pottery. You might even want to consider going back to school for a class that interests you or that degree you always meant to get. All of these challenge your mind and help keep it in top form.
Staying sharp is important to all of us, and these are some simple, practical steps we can take to keep our minds in tiptop shape. By supporting our physical and mental well-being, we can give our mind the support it needs to ensure a lifetime of memories, and the ability to reminisce and build upon them.