Imagine your life after 40s, you forget where your belongings are, confuse with phone numbers and addresses, cannot indulge in serious decisions due to impaired judgment, no more recognize old friends.
Frustrating isn’t it?
Brainpower decreases with age – is not a fact but a myth. Cognitive skills can decline at any age and is scientifically proven.
There are various neurological illnesses that can cause significant memory loss at a young age. Health conditions like diabetes, stress, and depression can also damage mental functioning very early.
Related: 8 Daily Habits That Are Secretly Damaging Your Brain
Do you know people with anxiety, sleep deprivation, and depression tend to score poorly on cognitive function tests? Good mental health is certainly an important goal to retain brainpower at old age.
How actually brain works is unclear! But, thanks to decades of researches and experiments on how to keep the brain active and preserve memory. Here are the best evidence-based strategies for you to keep your brain sharp and young at any age
1. Play with pets
Do you know that pets help in normalizing the brain chemistry? Yes, you read it right!
South African researchers showed that spending time with dogs and cats increases the level of beta-endorphins in the human brain. This neurochemical is a natural pain killer released in our body. Petting dogs double dopamine and serotonin . These hormone makes us feel good and relieve stress and depression.
There is a feedback system that neurochemically, psychologically and behaviorally sets up between you and your pet. We take antidepressants and feel good just because they elevate the level of these neurotransmitters. But pets do that just for free.
Why waste money over antidepressants? Get a furry friend and your brain will never fall short of healthy brain chemicals. 2. Listen to music
Music acts as a balm on a depressed mind. Listening to music gives you a sense of pleasure and meaningfulness according to the article published in The British Journal of Psychiatry . Music boosts the level of dopamine, the feel-good hormone brings about the musical-reward experience in the person.
Such pleasure coming from activation of certain brain regions drives the body, lets people communicate, and get moving. Music averts depression even in passive people hardwired to be social.
Music therapy induces sound sleep and decreases insomnia severity . In a study published in the Journal of Brain and Cognition, music was found to restore impaired vision. Scientists say that long term musical training improves visual attention and stimulates other cognitive benefits.
Also read: Music Therapy for depression – how can it heal you? 3. Play Brain games
Get mental stimulation with grain games and reduce your chances of developing Alzheimer’s. Games like Sudoko, solving a puzzle, chess, Qwirkle, Ken Ken, Taboo, and others require a strategy. It promotes critical thinking, memory, concentration, attention, creativity, and can prevent mild brain traumatic injury.
How does this work? Scientists believe that such mental stimulation encourages the brain to forge and maintain new neuron connections , an ability that usually diminishes with age.
Keep your brain sharp at any age by playing at least one of these games on a daily basis. 4. Eat Mediterranean diet
Eating a Mediterranean diet improves longevity, memory, cognition function and brain volume. This type of diet comprises green vegetables, whole grains, fish, nuts, legumes, fruits, unsaturated oils, moderate intake of alcohol, and plant source of proteins.
Research shows that the Mediterranean diet promotes healthy aging, and reduces the risk of certain cancers, Alzheimer’s , dementia, Parkinson’s disease, and depressive symptoms in older age. These results are based on Brain Magnetic Resonance Imaging Measures in young and older adults.
Do you want to age-proof your brain? Then savor Mediterranean diet, a simple, cost-effective solution! 5. Exercise
According to Michelle Ploughman, the clinical research scientist “exercise is brain food.”
Watch the video to know the brain-changing benefits of exercises:
Research supports that daily exercise whether mild or intense protects the brain and heart. Even brisk walking for 30 minutes can lift your spirits. Physical exercises enhance memory, creativity, concentration and help in speedy thinking.
Regular exercises can beat stress, anxiety and long-term depression according to the American Psychological Association. It can also improve the connection between brain cells and develop new nerve cells. As a result, you can keep your brain sharp, efficient and adaptive even when aging. What else?Exercises also decrease the risk of cancer and Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative disorders associated with age. Be physically active to retain your brainpower always! 6. Stay organized If you want to avoid forgetfulness (like unable to recall where you kept your car keys or spectacles) at your old age, then you must stay organized.The best way is to take advantage of planners, to-do lists, calendars, shopping lists, address books, and file folders. Why not keep your information accessible? It’ll help you better concentrate on learning and remembering important matters. You can make your life easier by designating a place at home for your keys, diaries, glasses and other items you use often. An organized lifestyle boosts brainpower and productivity.Clear the clutter! 7. Healthy social network Do you know that social isolation carries the same health risks as obesity, physical inactivity, and smoking?In-person socialization is more important than making friends on Facebook. Because online conversation is all about what is cool and what is not socially relevant. Modern conveniences and technology give pleasure!But, hanging out with friends and attending parties are powerful stress-busting medicines according to Stanford University health psychologist Kelly McGonigal. Loneliness does as much damage as 15 cigarettes a day. Stronger your social ties, lower the risk of dementia, memory loss, and longer life expectancy. You can ensure regular social activity through volunteering for a cause, job, engaging new hobbies, joining groups of similar interests, traveling and so on. 8. Play sports Playing sports gives you a quieter and healthier nervous system. A new study from Northwestern University showed that athletes can process information and situation better than non-athletes.Even if you don’t aim to be an athlete, […]