As we age, a variety of mental functions start to decline, including memory and cognitive thinking; however, there are a variety of ways to keep, or even improve your mental capacity. Here are some of the simplest yet most effective ways to keep your mental function sharp.
1. Use Your Head
Stimulate the connections between your nerve cells and even grow new ones by developing neurological elasticity by using your brain.
Learn, read and complete word puzzles and math problems. Try using a different hand for daily activities and picking up a new activity, like painting or knitting. Write it down. Writing by hand prompts a rush of neural activity that doesn’t occur on a keyboard.
2. Get Moving
Exercise your muscles and you can exercise your mind by building up the amounts of tiny blood vessels that deliver oxygen-rich blood to the region of your brain responsible for thought.
Moving can help increase new nerve cells, as well as brain synapses, the connections between the cells, helping you to think and react better and faster. You don’t have to run a marathon, either. Just a 15-minute walk a day is enough to get things flowing.
3. Control Your Calories
The food-brain connection is remarkable. By keeping your calories under control, you will lower your risk of mental decline as you age. Watch out for cholesterol and saturated fat, too, which can increase dementia.
Go for fresh whole foods, instead of processed, chemical-rich garbage. Keeping calories down is easier for older adults, because the appetite decreases with age.
4. Lower Stress, Lower Pressure
High blood pressure in midlife encourages cognitive decline later, so keep your blood pressure in check by eating fortified cereals, leafy green vegetables and fresh fruit.
Keep your weight at a normal number and exercise regularly.
Reduce stress with meditation and yoga. Avoid excessive alcohol use. It may make you feel better at the time, but the toxins that remain will actually lead to more stress and high blood pressure in the end.
5. Don’t Be Too Sweet
Diabetes is on the rise and it can create a higher risk for brain decline. Avoid diabetes by eating healthy and getting plenty of exercise.
Check your blood sugar often, and if you need medication to control it, take it as directed.
Work with your doctor to keep your blood sugar in check by keeping your weight in check, as well.
6. Cholesterol Cocktail
You need to mix the perfect cholesterol cocktail in your blood to keep mentally sharp.High levels of LDL and low levels of HDL are both bad for your mental and physical well being, so lifestyle, again, is your best advocate for long-term brain health.
Eat healthy, exercise and avoid smoking. Ask your doctor to test you regularly, and if you need medication, team up with your doctor to keep it stable and at a safe and even keel.
7. Monitor Your Mental State
Participants in cognitive function testing did not do well when they were tired, depressed and/or anxious, so take care of your mental state. Talk to friends and relatives and don’t sit at home alone all the time.
Get help if you find you can handle your feelings – there is plenty of help out there, so you don’t have to suffer in silence while stress and sadness takes its toll on your brain power.
8. Watch Your Head
There is a growing library of evidence to prove that a moderate to severe head injury early in one’s lifetime can lead to cognitive impairment – and more – in old age.
In fact, a concussion can increase the risk factor for Alzheimer’s by 10 times. Wear protective headgear when biking or playing contact sports. Period.
9. Be Super Social
Research has linked lower blood pressure and longer life spans in people who enjoy building strong social ties. Even if you can’t get out and about every day, you’ve got a world at your fingertips using the Internet.
Meet with friends on Facebook. Tweet to family on Twitter. Find a group on Meetup.com, and sign up for something. It will lower your blood pressure and improve your outlook – making you mentally and emotionally fit.
10. Dance Like No One’s Looking
Dancing, regardless of your age, can reduce the incidence of dementia by 76 percent. Although you may think dancing is purely physical, it involves using the mind, too.
Dancing involves thinking “on your feet,” meaning your brain is busy sending and receiving signals in ways you aren’t even aware of – growing more neural pathways in the process.
Best of all, dancing improves mental prowess at any age.
These ten tips may seem over-simplified to you, but the bottom line is, they work consistently for anyone who is willing to try them. Watch out for the things that fog your brain and add healthy lifestyle choices.
If you still want more brain power, consider other options, too, such as taking a natural supplement containing HGH, an element that declines with age.
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