Did you know that as you age, your brain slows down? On average, you lose 10 milliseconds of processing speed per decade after 20. Although it can hard to notice while it’s happening, your brain 40 years from now will be different than today.
Luckily, there are some different things you can do to promote cognitive skills.
Keep reading for a list of five things you must do to ensure proper and consistent cognitive function.
1. Never Stop Socializing
If you’ve never been much of a social butterfly, that’s okay. However, you will need to make sure that you don’t isolate yourself, and that you always have opportunities to interact with others.
When you socialize with other people, it keeps your brain active. Aside from helping you maintain cognitive function, regular socialization will also help you stay healthy. Social people have lower rates of depression, better emotional wellbeing, and possess better critical thinking skills.
Although being elderly can seem isolating, there are always opportunities to socialize with others. If you’re living in an assisted living home, odds are the center will have some community activities you can take advantage of. If you live in a house by yourself, look for local community events you can try out.
2. Keep Your Mind Running
If you work out for a while then stop, what happens? Your body will slowly lose the gains that it’s achieved. The same can happen to your brain.
Try to find different ways to help you stay intellectually-stimulated at all times. For some people, this means learning a skill. If you’ve never learned a language, played the piano, or been a skilled painter, the later stage of your life is a great time to give it a try.
Other people can find volunteering and engaging in other rewarding activities to be meaningful. Look for places where you can give your time and help others, whether it be at a soup kitchen, a church, or a homeless shelter. This will help you feel happier and healthier than if you were cooped up inside at home.
Making sure that you’re always doing different activities can also help your brain stay strong. Read the latest books, your favorite magazines, and play games. If you have the time, you can also consider teaching a class at a local recreation center.
Check out this article to learn more about the benefits of brain exercises for seniors.
3. Stay Active
Aside from staying mentally active, it’s also important that you stay physically active, no matter how old you are.
By moving and staying active, you’ll maintain your physical strength, and also increase it. This in turn will give you more energy, which is another thing that tends to disappear as you get older. You’ll also enjoy better moods, reduced chances of depression, and higher resistance to many diseases.
Yet besides benefitting you physically, staying active will also promote different types of cognitive functions. In one study, results showed that exercise promoted the brain’s ability to maintain old network connections, as well as make new ones. Other studies have demonstrated that exercise improves memory and learning abilities.
For a daily goal, try to be active for around 30 minutes a day. But you don’t need to have a gym membership to stay active. Studies have shown that power walking has a number of positive effects on the human body.
4. Make Sure to Eat Healthy Foods
Not only does healthy eating help to keep your body running as it should, but it also helps your mind stay strong.
What constitutes a healthy diet? It should include fruits and vegetables, lean meats, fish, poultry, whole-grains, and low-fat products. Try to limit your intake of sugars, sodium, and saturated fats. Make sure that you also pay attention to portion sizes and get enough water.
Although studies until now have been inconclusive, some researchers believe that a relationship between the Meditteranean diet and reduced chances of Alzheimer’s exists.
Regardless of the extent that eating healthy has on your mental wellbeing, it can’t hurt. At the very least, you’ll be helping your body in other ways!
5. Avoid Things that Can Harm Your Cognitive Function
Taking steps to improve and maintain your cognitive skills also means avoiding things that can harm them. So what are some things you should watch out for?
Although many of the problems that can develop come down to genetics, there are still lifestyle changes you can make. If you drink alcohol or smoke, it can impact your cognitive health. Smoking harms many parts of your body, including your brain, while drinking too much over the long-term can alter the way your brain functions.
Make sure that you’re also getting enough sleep. A good night’s rest supports brain health. When you don’t sleep enough or are unable to, you can have problems with concentration, memory, and other cognitive functions.
As mentioned, it’s also important to avoid isolation and to try to socialize as much as possible. Feeling lonely has a negative impact on your brain’s health, and can lead to serious problems such as increased chances of dementia. Socialize as much as you can, and your brain will stay youthful for longer.
Stay Mentally Youthful With These Tips
Aging can be a scary process, especially when you understand that your brain slows down as you get older. Yet by practicing these 5 tips, you’ll be able to promote regular cognitive function and ensure that your age never catches up with you.