Do you ever find yourself standing clueless in the kitchen trying to remember what the heck you came in looking for? Phew, I'm glad it's not only me!
Maintaining a sharp memory and ensuring our brain remains healthy is important for people over 40. As we age, our cognitive abilities can decline, leading to difficulties with recalling, reasoning, attention, and focus. luckily, there are multiple evidence-based solutions in the form of exercises and lifestyle changes that can assist in preventing or at least postponing cognitive decline and keeping the brain healthy.
Here are five evidence-based lifestyle strategies you can start integrating daily to keep your brain healthy now and later....
Exercise regularly: Exercise has been shown to improve cognitive function in older adults, including memory and attention. Studies suggest that moderate-intensity aerobic exercise, such as brisk walking or cycling, for at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week, can have positive effects on brain health. Exercise can also improve mood, reduce stress, and improve sleep quality, which can all contribute to better cognitive function.
Practice mindfulness: Mindfulness meditation has been shown to improve cognitive function in older adults. It involves paying attention to the present moment without judgment, and can help reduce stress and anxiety, which can contribute to cognitive decline. Studies suggest that practicing mindfulness for as little as 10 minutes a day can have positive effects on brain health.
Learn new things: Learning new skills or taking on new challenges can help keep the brain sharp. It can help create new neural pathways and improve cognitive function. Activities such as learning a new language (I've recently took up Spanish and doing a daily word puzzle), playing a musical instrument (I am back to playing the piano), or taking up a new hobby can be beneficial (How about Pickle Ball?).
Stay socially engaged: Social interaction has been shown to have positive effects on cognitive function in older adults. It can help reduce stress, improve mood, and provide mental stimulation. Activities such as volunteering, joining a book club (in my case, it's a wine club that is disguised as a book club... 😉 ), or taking a class can help keep the brain active and engaged.
Eat a healthy diet: A healthy diet can help promote brain health. Eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein can provide the nutrients needed for optimal brain function. Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as fish, egg yolks, nuts, and seeds, have also been shown to have positive effects on cognitive function.
In addition to these lifestyle changes, there are also brain training exercises that can help improve cognitive function. These exercises involve challenging the brain with activities such as memory games, puzzles, and brain teasers. You can try Sudoku and Wordle for example.There are also brain training apps and online programs that can be accessed from home. You can try Lumosity, Elevate, and Peak to name just a few.
Keep in mind that investing in your brain's health is a lifelong process. By incorporating these lifestyle changes and brain training exercises into daily life, you can help prevent cognitive decline and maintain a sharp memory skills, take control of your eating habits and live a healthier, happier life.
Which of the strategies discussed here are you committed to start integrating today?