As we age, we slow down a bit. It’s part of the natural process of aging, but there’s no reason that you can’t still enjoy an exciting, active life just because you are getting older. Here are a few tips to help you keep your mind sharp as you age.
Get the Right Amount of Sleep
A good night’s sleep is a wonderful thing, but gets harder as we age. The change in sleep quality older adults experience is caused by the double-whammy of a decrease in slow-wave activity (deep sleep) and the deterioration of a specific set of neurons. Researchers are working on solutions to help with these changes, but for now, make sure you get the right amount of quality sleep. To avoid waking up more during the night, try a white-noise machine or invest in some black out shades to keep the light level low.
Arrange for an Active Social Life
Staying penned up at home can leave you feeling drained and low. Social activities are a wonderful way to meet with old friends and maybe even make a few new ones! The benefits of getting yourself out there are significant not just for the mind, but the body and mood as well. Check out a local book group, try volunteering or set up a weekly game of cards with friends, family, neighbors.
Eat Brain-boosting foods
Diet is easily the most delicious way to increase your brain-power! You can enjoy long-lasting benefits by eating foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids and protein such as fish, walnuts, flax seed and spinach and soy. Green tea contains powerful antioxidants that help guard against free radicals that break down brain cells. If you need a quick boost, reach for complex carbohydrates, which can be found in fruit and vegetables. Limit calories, saturated fats, simple carbs and refined sugar. Starchy potatoes, ice cream and sugar cookies are tasty treats, but eating them in excess can lead to increased risk for cognitive impairment.
Give Your Brain a Workout
By challenging your brain with new and fun situations and activities you can even build new neural pathways. Learning to play an instrument, knitting, gardening, and playing a feisty game of table tennis all are effective examples of quality brain-building exercises. Mnemonics such as rhyming, visualization and acronyms can also make remembering important information easier. By more efficiently utilizing the neural pathways your brain uses to transfer information, you’ll recall things more quickly and free up space so your brain has more to work with.
Don’t let your mind wander. With a little forethought, keeping your brain active and sharp is easy and can be a lot of fun!