As our bodies age, so do our brains. We often don’t realize that mental fitness is just as important as physical fitness until that fateful day when we can’t find our car keys or forget where we parked the car at the mall. And then panic sets in. The good news is that as we age there are things we can do to keep our brains healthy. Over time we don’t lose brain cells but we lose connections between where the signals in our brains are transmitted and received. These connections are called synapses. The only way to form new synapses is through exercise, both physical and mental. These are some of the things we can do to keep the brain healthy:
Get plenty of sleep. Healthy sleep patterns lower levels of stress hormones and help keep your memory sharp. Aim for at least 7.5 hours per nights.
Keep physically active. Exercise increases the flow of oxygen in your body, including the brain. It decreases stress which drains the brain of energy.
Socialize. Stay socially active with family and friends. All the things you do and the conversations you have when you socialize stimulate your brain. Studies have shown that socially active seniors have healthier brain scans. Don’t spend your time sitting in front of the television.
Stimulate your brain. Challenging your brain keeps it sharp. Even doing simple things like changing your daily routine or taking a different route to the grocery store will challenge your brain. Other simple and inexpensive things to do include:
*learn a new language or how to play a musical instrument
*play board games or chess
*solve crossword puzzles
*do word search puzzles or sudokus
*do crafts or build models
Do you have any other tips for staying sharp? Comment below.
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