When you think about aging, your thoughts may wander to images of being less able bodied, slower and older in appearance and to physical health problems. Let’s discuss some ways to help keep your brain young!
There is another side to growing older that is not thought about quite as much but can be even more devastating than physical challenges. That is the effect that aging can have on your brain. Just like your body, you brain can begin to age as well.
How can you protect your brain into your healthy older years? Here are some strategies and suggestions that may be able to help…
Never Stop Learning
One of the very most important things you can do for your brain is to keep learning and to keep exposing yourself to new experiences. Our brains operate on a ‘use it or lose it’ basis, just like the rest of our body. If you are going through the exact same motions day in and day out without a change in routine, your brain is not getting the exercise it needs. Just like the physical body, your brain will begin to lose its flexibility and the ability to function as well as it once did.
One problem is that so many of us do stop learning new things, new skills we age. We get lazy and complacent. We also tend to become less active and less social, and this means we lose our opportunities for learning.
The key is to keep trying new things. We live in a world filled with opportunities to gain new experiences. Take a class, learn a new language, visit a museum, try out a new hobby, spend time doing puzzles and playing games, volunteer to help people learn to read and so on.
Here’s something you can try out right from home – computer games. Why? Because each time you try a new computer game, you are forced to learn new skills and new abilities. Each time you learn a new game, you need new controls, which will create new neural pathways. Each new game has a new set of skills, and that means you are continually challenging yourself ot learn.
Be a Social Butterfly
One of the very best things for our brains is to keep socializing. This is very important, as social interaction stimulates positive hormones and keeps our brain active and challenged. As we get older, sometimes we begin to socialize less frequently. This means less stimulation. The people who live in the Blue Zones of the world live to be 100+ years old and are active and social right up until the very end of their lives.
Just as with learning, there are plenty of opportunities to stay active socially. Attend meetup groups, volunteer at the library, get involved with your church, get together with friends for lunch, join a walking group, etc. With a little effort, you’ll be able to continue to have fun and remain socially active which will go a long way toward helping you keep your brain young .
Pets are Good for Your Brain
It pays to be an animal lover in more ways than one. Pets provide their owners with social interaction, warmth and love. It really is no wonder then that older pet owners are less likely to experience depression and anxiety. Caring for a pet also gets the focus on their needs while taking it off of worries and stress. Shelters are very good at matching older adopters with appropriate dogs and cats who will enrich your life while you give a shelter animal a loving home!
You CAN Keep Your Brain Young
Keeping your mind active and engaged is just as important as caring for the rest of your body. With a little effort and planning, it’s not only easy to keep your brain active and engaged, it also give you a better quality of life filled with more fun and new experiences well into your later years!
How may I serve you in your quest for optimal mental and physical health?
Cheryl A Major
Cheryl A Major lives in Westford and is a Certified Nutrition and Wellness Consultant. Her TV show, Thin Strong Healthy, airs on WestfordCat and is an offshoot of her blog http://ThinStrongHealthy.com Cheryl offers ongoing information, live and online courses and personal health coaching to help you feel better and be healthier. Follow Cheryl on Twitter @CherylAMajor. She is also a full time residential Realtor with Coldwell Banker with more than 25 years experience.
Her new book, “Eat Your Blues Away” in which she chronicles her recovery from depression is now available on Amazon in both Kindle and paperback!