Tuesday, September 11, 2012

How to Keep Your Mind Fit

As you age, you may start to notice that you’re forgetting more than just names or where you put the keys. The older you get the scarier memory-loss can be, especially if you have a family history if Alzheimer’s or dementia. Several studies now show that you can decrease your risk for such diseases by keeping yourself and your brain fit. Check out the following tips to age-proof your brain:

  • Stay active: It’s never too late to have an active lifestyle, and it’s one of the most vital elements to keeping your brain young. By exercising, you can reduce the risk of dementia by up to 40 percent. According to the University of California in San Francisco, physical exercise is proven to increase the number of cells in your brain. Start out by exercising for at least 15 minutes per day, three day a week. Integrate cardio and weight-training activities for the best results. Then make it your goal to work up to 150 minutes of moderate activity per week—that’s just over 21 minutes per day.

Tai chi is a simple, stress-reducing exercise that
anyone can do (even while sitting in a chair).
  • Learn something new: Brains love a constant challenge because it promotes the growth of new cells. Mix up your routine by trying something new every so often like:

  • An engaging book
  • Games (even video games can count)
  • Crafts
  • Different recipes
  • New uses for brain-healthy spices like ginger, vanilla, cinnamon, oregano, black pepper, cumin, turmeric and curries
  • Educational shows
  • A fun class at your local community center or college
  • A hobby you’ve wanted to learn or pick up again

  • Meditate: When you’re stressed, your brain fills with cortisol, a memory-impairing hormone. When you meditate or do a stress-reducing exercise, the levels of cortisol in your brain can greatly reduce in as little as eight weeks.
  • Partake in Omega-3s: The Omega-3 fatty acids found in fruits, nuts, olive oil, leafy greens fish and beans can help reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s by up to 48 percent. Unlike the Omega-6 fatty acids that you find in processed and fried foods, the Omega-3s help increase the amount feel-good chemicals in your brain and help out your heart.
  • Live with intention: When you feel like you have a purpose or goal for your life, your brain stays sharp.
  • Get social: Teens aren’t the only ones who need an active social life. Social settings offer the emotional and mental stimulation you need to help ward off dementia. A simple 10-minute conversation with another person daily is all it takes to boost your short-term memory.
  • Reduce your health risks: According to the University of California, if individuals increased their activity levels, lost excess weight and stopped smoking by only 25 percent, up to a half million cases of Alzheimer’s would be reduced/prevented in the U.S. 
  • Take your vitamins: As you age, your body doesn’t absorb nutrients from your food as well. Prevent vitamin deficiencies with supplements that your doctor recommends. Niacin, Vitamin C and Vitamin B-12 are a few that are particularly beneficial for brain health.

This post is brought to you by www.burialinsurance.org. All opinions stated are my own. 

Photo Credit: DolfinDans

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