It’s a fact of life that we age… and so does your brain. The latest statistics show that over the next five years, there will be over 1 million people living with dementia.
The good news is – new studies reveal people of any age can train their brains to be faster and younger. There is strong evidence that exercise can help stimulate the growth of new connections within the brain, preventing mental decline and helping avoiding short-term memory loss.
But the basic rule to remember is simple: use it or lose it. By giving your brain regular mental and physical workouts, you can help re-wire it to ensure better cognitive health, resulting in a good memory, a sharper mind and more energy.
6 TRICKS TO KEEP YOUR BRAIN YOUNG
It has been proved that fit people have sharper minds. But even if you’re just starting to exercise, it will help boost your brain. Exercise also staves off heart disease, obesity and diabetes, all of which increase the risk of brain problems as we age. Try doing at least 30 to 45 minutes of moderately intense exercise three times per week.
MANAGE STRESS LEVELS
Not all stress is avoidable, but persistent chronic stress causes a continuous release of hormones, which can interfere with normal brain functioning. Your risk of cardiovascular disease also increases. Deep breathing, yoga and exercise will help. Avoid multitasking if you can.
Sleep deprivation ages the brain and causes low-grade inflammation, which can lead to numerous health problems. Take an afternoon nap as it can improve cognition – and try to get at least 7 hours sleep per night.
SWITCH IT UP
Challenge your cognitive skills by brushing your teeth with the opposite hand, fastening your buttons with one hand or putting on shoes and socks without sitting. Change where you sit in the lounge or buy a vegetable you’ve never tried before. Any change, no matter how small, will make your brain work harder!
Take time to learn a new cognitive skill, such as learning a foreign language, or how to play chess. Stretch your brain with Sudoku and crosswords, which are a great way to keep your mind agile. A recent study found participants who regularly completed crosswords performed better in tasks assessing attention, reasoning and memory. The researchers found they had a brain function equivalent to 10 years younger than their real age.
Keeping in touch with friends and family is vital for our mental wellbeing. Research published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry claims loneliness increases your risk of developing dementia by 65%, partly because it causes harmful inflammation to the brain.
Now we’re in our second national lockdown, make sure you keep in touch with friends and family daily by the phone or social media!