One of the biggest fears in aging is the possibility of Alzheimer’s or some type of dementia. There is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease and only some causes of dementia symptoms can be reversed. Taking care of your brain specifically, much like taking care of your body, can help to reduce the effects of aging and will help keep your memory sharp as you age.
1. Learn Something New.
Many of us rely on that old saying “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks,” yet setting out to learn something new can be a great way to engage parts of your brain that aren’t necessarily used often. Learning a new language or learning how to play an instrument can exercise those parts of your brain like you would exercise your arms and legs.
2. Stay Socially Engaged.
There are a number of benefits to staying socially active, not to mention many ways to do it; social gathering with friends, dinners with family, or volunteering with your church or favorite charity. If you choose to volunteer it can also benefit others as well as yourself. Along with the benefits of engaging your brain, being social can also help combat the risk of depression as well.
3. Play games.
Sometimes when adults think about playing games they think “well that’s childish, how is that going to help me” when in fact it can help a lot. Playing logic, concentration, or memory games exercise the areas of your brain that you do not use doing everyday tasks, they can also be stress-reducing as well. Setup a game night with friends and family (think being social…) or you can check out the free games at http://www.aarp.org/health/brain-health/brain_games/.
This seems like a no brainer, sure, but actively relaxing 20 minutes a day can help minimize the damage of stress to your brain and your body for that matter. There are so many benefits to active relaxation, we found You Really Need to Relax: Effective Methods helpful in learning methods to actively relax.
Sources: University of Rochester: urmc.rochester.edu, Alzheimer’s & Dementia Alliance of Wisconsin: alzwisc.org, University of Michigan: med.umich.edu