Seniors worry about losing brain functioning and memory as they age. Keeping your mind and memory sharp might be as easy as keeping up friendly communications with your neighbors, reading that new murder mystery or taking a community college class. Here are 7 ways to keep your brain healthy as you age:
- Socialize –keeping an active social circle keeps minds active by improving interpersonal connections, reducing stress and keeping depression at bay. So next time you have a chance to meet someone new or catch up with someone you know, go for it.
- Learn –You can teach an old dog new tricks! A commitment to lifelong learning keeps your brain limber. Learning, whether in the classroom or through self study modalities introduces you to new concepts and may help you make new friends. Researchers at the Center for Neuroscience, University of California, Davis, found improvement in memory when participants pursued new information that they were curious about. So if you are curious about a topic, Google it or better yet take a class. You mind will be better for it!
- Try Acupuncture – a recent study of more than 500 patients receiving acupuncture for 2-3 months fared better than those receiving supplements and medication for memory issues. Recipients also saw improvements on a picture recognition test and the Mini-Mental State Examination.
- Sing– Researchers at the University of Helsinki found musical leisure activities, particularly singing, are cognitively and emotionally beneficial. This was true particularly in the early stages of dementia. Singing was found beneficial for working memory, executive function and orientation, especially in persons with mild dementia and dementia at younger ages (under age 80). Join a choir/chorus, attend worship services that include music, sing in the shower or sing with your grandchildren- you will create memories for them and benefit your memory as well!
- Challenge yourself –do a crossword puzzle or Sudoku, study a language or learn to meditate. Hungry? Create or try a new recipe that incorporates brain-beneficial foods such as dark leafy greens, omega-3 fatty acid-rich fish, blueberries, legumes or other lean proteins.
- Stay mobile – and we won’t mean your phone. A body in motion keeps blood pumping and improves oxygen flow to your brain. Walk, bike, swim or find an activity that you enjoy and develop a consistent exercise routine. Exercising with a friend or joining an exercise group will help you stay committed!