Maintaining Your Brain Health as You Age

Maintaining Your Brain Health as You Age

While it is certainly important to focus on keeping up with your physical health as you age, it is just as important to keep your brain sharp. As you age, areas of your brain begin to shrink, greatly hindering your cognitive function. According to the PostGraduate Medical Journal, “It has been widely found that the volume of the brain and/or its weight declines with age at a rate of around 5% per decade after age 401 with the actual rate of decline possibly increasing with age particularly over age 70.” Due to this, it is extremely important to exercise your brain just as much as your body as you age. 

Increasing blood flow to your brain can help improve memory and brain function. 

Blood flow from aerobic exercise has been linked in case studies to a decrease in memory loss in aging adults. Aerobic exercises you can participate in include swimming, walking, or going on a bike ride. Studies have also shown that exercise and mental health are linked in both ways, with daily exercise increasing your brain function, and vice versa.

 

Focusing on a whole-food, nutritious diet is key to maintaining your brain health as you get older. 

High sugar consumption has been linked with a decrease in memory and your ability to retain information. The good news is that inflammation caused by a diet high in sugar can be corrected through a focus on healthy, nutritious foods that are high in omega-3s and other brain-boosting nutrients. 

Since the brain is basically the control center for the rest of your body, it is extremely important for you to do all you can to maintain your well-being as you age. More brain-boosting foods include: fatty fish such as salmon and sardines, coffee, blueberries, and broccoli. While they are certainly many more brain-enhancing foods, these are just a few of the most common and simple examples that are easy to incorporate into your diet. 

 

30 minutes of reading a day can help improve your cognitive and social abilities. 

Those of us with our noses in a book may have an advantage over non-readers. Studies have shown that just 30 minutes per day can decrease your risk of death by 20 percent, while improving your thinking skills and keeping your mind sharp. What’s more is that reading – especially fiction and nonfiction novels with plot and personable characters – can increase empathy and therefore allow you to see the world from other peoples perspectives, which keeps your mind engaged at all times. 

elderly woman reading

Make it a point to contact your pals. 

In the times of the COVID-19 pandemic, the world has been more isolated than ever before. This is especially true for aging adults who tend to be more susceptible to the virus, and who take the necessary precautions to ensure they are not in contact with those exposed to the virus. Despite this, loneliness can be detrimental to your health, and so finding ways to connect with your friends and loved ones during the pandemic is crucial. 

While you may not be able to meet up with your friends physically, connecting with them via Zoom or another social media platform can be just as beneficial. By maintaining close relationships with loved ones, you can decrease stress levels that have adverse effects on the mind as well as decrease the risks of early onset dementia. 

 

Ultimately, maintaining your brain health as you age should be as much a priority as maintaining your physical health. Keeping your brain functioning at tip-top shape as you age can help increase your overall wellbeing and help you feel younger, for longer.