10 Ways to Keep the Mind Sharp as We Age

Aging takes a toll on the brain. The brain literally shrinks as we age, losing up to 10% of its size. Research on aging shows that seniors experience declines in many key areas of cognitive function. Learn more about 10 ways to keep your mind sharp.

How to Keep Your Mind Sharp

Here are 10 activities you can incorporate into your life to help keep the mind sharp and brain nourished:

1. Exercise

It has long been understood that the mind and body are interconnected. What benefits the body will benefit the brain. Regular exercise goes a long way to keeping the brain healthy.

2. Read a Book

Reading is beneficial on many levels. When you read, not only do you absorb the information contained in the book, but the act of reading itself builds connections within the brain that make it more versatile.

3. Eat Right

Many foods, including nuts, fish and red wine, have been linked to a healthy brain. But concentrating on an all-around healthy diet may be the best nutritional strategy for keeping the brain sharp.

4. Maintain Good Posture

Maintaining an upright, un-slouched posture improves circulation and blood-flow to the brain.

5. Sleep Well

A good night’s sleep is vitally important to a healthy mind, especially memory. Get enough sleep and, if necessary, take naps.

6. Paint, Draw or Doodle

Whether it’s a masterpiece or a mere doodle, simply making a picture is an excellent workout for the brain.

7. Listen to Music

Music affects the brain profoundly, and has been linked to improved cognition and memory functioning.

8. Learn Something New

Many colleges and senior centers offer engaging, low-cost lectures and classes for older adults. Whether you’re learning a new language or beefing up your computer skills, ongoing education is a surefire way to keep sharp.

9. Do Puzzles

When you challenge and stimulate yourself intellectually, you exercise your brain and increase your mental capacity.  Crosswords area popular choice, but puzzles of all kinds may be similarly helpful.

10. Write

Writing improves working memory and your ability to communicate. It matters not whether it’s an email to family, a private journal or the “Great American Novel.”

It’s important to know that although there are no clinically proven ways to reverse the course of brain diseases like Alzheimer’s, leading a healthy lifestyle that’s both socially and intellectually stimulating combats normal, age-related mental decline. This may decrease the risk of developing Alzheimer’s and other kinds of dementia.

Senior Living Blog, Sept 18 2015