While having the odd senior moment generally isn’t a cause for alarm, it can be very frustrating and upsetting if your memory isn’t as reliable as it once was.
The good news is, that there are some simple strategies and lifestyle choices you can make that can help to keep your brain in good health. Here are some that you can try today.
Start with Healthy Habits
We all know that looking after yourself is good for your physical well being, and it is also important for your brain health too. Follow a balanced diet and limit your alcohol intake to no more than two drinks on any day. Be sure to get enough sleep – the Sleep Health Foundation recommends 7-9 hours for adults 26-64 years of age, and 7-8 hours for those over 65.
Staying active is a must. It doesn’t need to be an intense workout to be beneficial, just choose an activity you enjoy and do it regularly. Walk, swim, garden… there are loads of possibilities. And importantly, avoid smoking altogether. It has been linked to reduced brain function and memory loss, so if you’re a smoker, quitting is one of the best things you can do.
Maintain social connections
Having an active social life and a network of friends and family who you regularly connect with makes you feel happy – and there is growing evidence that it’s good for your brain health too. Whether you catch up for coffee, go for a walk, or have a chat over the phone, engaging with others helps keep your mind active and sharp.
If you’d like to grow your social network, why not get involved with your local community? There are lots of places you can volunteer to help others, and if you live in a lifestyle village, there’s often communal areas to get together with your neighbours. Being part of a community holds many benefits and it also helps boost your social engagement which is great for your mind.
Never Stop Learning
There’s no better way to stimulate the mind than to learn something new. Maybe you’ve always wanted to be able to speak French, or to paint, or to decorate cakes? There are thousands of classes, courses, books and online resources out there that can help you perfect a new skill.
Technology also presents lots of opportunity to learn. Spend some time on your laptop, tablet or phone, doing research, chatting on social media or playing games. Just remember, to gain the maximum benefit for your mind, pick a topic that you really enjoy. Doing something just for the sake of it won’t have the same positive effect because it will soon seem like a chore.
Exercise the Brain
One of the most common recommendations to sharpen the mind is to exercise it by solving puzzles and brain teasers. There has been plenty of research on the topic and most experts agree that doing a daily crossword, quiz, Sudoku or jigsaw puzzle is beneficial.
If puzzles aren’t your thing, try reading, writing, playing cards, board games or even listening to music. All these activities challenge and invigorate the brain, which is enjoyable and good for you at any age.
Make Use of the Available Tools
If you find you’re having trouble remembering things, there are lots of ways you can make life easier. Get yourself a calendar and diary to keep track of appointments, birthdays, outings and your to-do list. It’s also handy to keep a shopping list on the bench or fridge so you can add to it as things run out. You’ll be more organised and can save your mental energy too.
For those who are tech savvy, it’s easy to keep track of your daily activities and more using your smart phone. Doing it this way means you’ll have everything in one place, plus, you can set reminders for anything important as a backup.
Final Word on Keeping Your Mind Sharp
While many of us worry about our minds letting us down as we age, there is plenty you can do now to improve and protect your brain functions. By adopting the habits above, you give yourself the best chance of keeping your mind sharp and healthy for many years to come.
Over to You
Do you have a habit that keeps your mind sharp that you’d like to share? We’d love to hear it!
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