You’ve probably heard that as we age, it’s normal for our bodies to slow down. But what about our brain? Is there anything we can do to keep your mental faculties sharp even as the years go by? The answer is yes! Although there is no magic bullet for improving cognitive function as you age, there are many things you can do to optimize your brain health at any stage of life. In this guide, we’ll cover everything from diet and exercise to sleep habits and socializing—everything we need to stay healthy inside and outside our minds.
Exercise Your Brain
Learning new things, playing games, and reading are all essential ways to improve your cognitive function as you age. Learning a new language or musical instrument is also beneficial, as is practicing a new skill. Traveling to new places can also be beneficial, whether you choose to travel abroad or explore the area around where you live. Finally, volunteering for causes that are meaningful to you can help keep your brain active and engaged on an emotional level.
Exercise Your Body
Exercise is a vital part of any healthy lifestyle. Exercise strengthens muscles, helps to control weight, and boosts the immune system.
Exercise also helps to improve sleep, mood, and energy levels. In addition, research shows that physical activity can delay or prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and other forms of neurological decline in older adults.
Start moving today by walking briskly for 30-60 minutes as often as possible (ideally every day). If you need more motivation to get started with regular exercise, include some resistance training in your routine at least twice per week (this can consist of lifting weights or doing pushups).
Maintain A Healthy Diet
A healthy diet is essential to maintaining cognitive function as you age. The brain requires a constant supply of glucose, which is necessary for memory and learning. A balanced diet with vegetables, fruit, protein, and carbs (in moderation) will provide the energy needed to keep your brain sharp. It’s also important to drink plenty of water—the human body loses up to 6 pints per day through respiration, exercise, and sweating—to keep tissues well-hydrated.
Get Enough Sleep
Getting the recommended amount of sleep is essential for maintaining a healthy brain, which we all know. But how much sleep is enough for you? And what does good sleep entail? Here are some tips to help you get a more restful slumber:
According to the National Sleep Foundation, the average adult should get 7-8 hours of shut-eye each night. But this number varies depending on your age and lifestyle—the older you get, the more rest your body needs (around 9 hours per night). If you’re having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, try these strategies:
- Minimize blue light exposure at least 30 minutes before bedtime by sticking low-wattage bulbs in your home or turning off screens.
- Write down any thoughts that keep you up so they won’t bother you while trying to fall asleep! This technique has helped many so much (and also makes great fodder for blog posts).
- Keep all electronics at least 1 foot away from where you sleep or out of sight altogether in another room if possible. The artificial light emitted by these devices disrupts our natural circadian rhythm, making it harder for us to wind down before nodding off for the night!
Take Up Meditation
Meditation is a great way to relax and clear your mind, but it can also be a great tool for improving your concentration. Meditation is worth trying if you’re looking for ways to improve your focus without prescription drugs or other potentially harmful substances.
Not only that, but meditation has been shown to help reduce stress and anxiety in people of all ages—including older adults struggling with cognitive function issues like memory loss or dementia. Research indicates that mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) can reduce anxiety about aging by up to 40 percent!