All of us know that as we age, we need to take care of our heart, our bones, as well as the rest of our body by eating well, exercising, and so forth. But at the same time, we often do not think of protecting the brain, that organ which distinguishes us from animals.
The thought of losing your mind to cognitive decline is certainly terrifying, and it’s understandable to want to not think about it. But taking care of your brain to keep it healthy throughout your life isn’t that difficult. Here are a few basic ideas to keep your mind active and body strong.
Education isn’t something we do for a decade or two in school. It is something we should do every day, as we experience new perspectives and ideals which enrich our lives. By exercising the brain just as we exercise our muscles, we keep it strong and working. And that does not touch into the other, obvious benefits of constantly learning throughout your life.
So read books, try brain exercises, and do not waste all your time in front of a computer screen. Inc has some great tips on how you can keep gathering knowledge throughout your life.
We all know the importance of eating well, and the right foods can help stimulate your brain. By way of example, blueberries contain protective compounds called anthocyanins which can help protect brain cells and prevent hearing and memory decay.
Other examples of brain food include tomatoes, oily fish, and nuts. Eating healthy for your brain isn’t that different from eating healthy in general. Limit consumption of red meat and fats, load up on vegetables and fruits, and you will continue to keep your mind working.
Exercise Proper exercise builds up your brain and body just as much as a proper diet will. Exercise increases your heart’s ability to pump blood, which means that more blood gets to your brain and keeps your cells healthier. There are countless studies which show that an active lifestyle can prevent mental decay, but that should be patently obvious from watching any stagnant couch potato.
Getting back in shape after being inactive for a while can be challenging, but there is always some physical activities which anyone can do. Some examples include just climbing stairs, squats, and swimming.
Listen to Music
You have probably heard stories of how some overactive parents force their kids to listen to Mozart to improve their mind and hearing. While that’s taking it too far, music is a proven stimulant of the mind and may even help elderly drivers. It invokes certain emotions and feelings and engages our brains, even at a subconscious level.
You hardly need to go overboard with music, and will listen to it whenever you please. But even a soft, soothing tune playing in the background while you focus on chores can help your head by a bit.
Books and music are good ways to experience and learn about new places, but the best way to learn is get outside, do things, and talk to other people. Modern social isolation bred partially by how we shut ourselves up with our tablets and laptops is a real problem both on the individual and community level especially for older people. We cannot utilize and exercise our brains best with no help of others who are able to teach us new ways to look at the world.
Look for a communal hobby or volunteer organization you can get involved with, engage with friends and family regularly, and be a member of the community. That will not just help your mental health, but the health of others as well.