Be Mindful of Your Brain
Forgetfulness is often considered a sign of aging. While it’s true our brains change as we age, aging doesn’t always have to equal cognitive decline. There are many ways to exercise your brain and improve cognitive function. Begin by incorporating these five tips into your daily routine to enhance mental function and curb the effects of aging:
Learn Something New
One of the best ways to keep our minds in high function is to continuously involve ourselves in learning. Challenge your mind through learning a new activity, or spending time listening and talking with others who have differing opinions from yours. The curious mind never stops growing.
Exercise not only helps physical fitness, but it also helps our brains, too. Exercising increases the number of tiny blood vessels that send oxygen-rich blood to our brains. Exercise can also improve our cholesterol levels, lowers blood pressure and can improve mental health and blood sugar levels, all of which play a role in cognitive health.
Staying socially active helps to keep us moving and encourages mental stimulation through conversation with others. Our emotional health is also tied to brain health, so these positive interactions with friends and family keep our hearts full and our brains healthy.
If you’re having trouble staying socially active, try joining a local club that interests you, or taking a class at a local community center. These are great places to meet new friends and build relationships.
Our diets have a lot to do with the way our bodies function, including the way in which our brains work. Studies have shown that those who stick to eating a more Mediterranean diet, including plant-based foods, fish, whole grains and nuts, have a lesser chance of developing brain debilitating diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s.
Meditation is a great way to increase focus and strengthen our brains. Training our brains through mediation involves two important memory centers, the hippocampus, and the frontal lobe. When we work on our “memory muscles” through intense focus, we increase our ability to retain and retrieve memories. Encouraging this muscle growth through mediation can help slow the progression of diseases that affect our memories. The effects of mediation are increasingly more apparent as we age. A study from UCLA found that those who had practiced meditation for the long-term had better-preserved brains than those who did not.
Spend time each day intentionally engaging in activities that encourage mental growth and function. Doing so will help your brain curb the effects that aging may have on it. By training your brain through the above-mentioned activities, you may also enjoy the following side effects: better focus, a healthier outlook, and increased happiness.
At Surpass, our holistic approach to care encourages our community to engage in many of the activities listed above. We focus on seven dimensions of health that round out our commitment to caring for the whole person.
If you’d like to learn more about living well at a Surpass Senior Living community, contact us for your private tour today!