10 Simple Steps to a Healthier Brain

September 10, 2009 at 4:17 pm Leave a comment

Walk! ( Image by ColinBroug on Stock.Xchng) 1.  Go For A Daily Walk
Exercise is crucial for brain health; it improves blood and oxygen circulation, relieves  stress, and stimulates the brain to grow and repair neural networks.  If you could only do one thing for your brain’s health, regular exercise would be the single most effective choice!

2. Train Your brain
Whether you use formal brain training systems or a variety of do-it-yourself intellectual exercises, continually challenging your mind  keeps your existing skills sharp, builds new neural networks and helps minimize memory loss by creating a cognitive reserve.

3. Eat Your Fish!
That old common wisdom about fish being brain food? It’s true!  Fish (especially fatty fish like salmon, tuna and herrings) contains high levels of Omega-3, a nutrient crucial to brain and heart health, which many people are short on.

4. Spend Time In The Sunlight
Because of the risks of skin cancer from sun exposure, we’ve been discouraged  from spending too much time out in the sun.  But getting some sunlight is important – it allows the body to produce Vitamin D, which, it turns out, is significantly low in many people with cognitive issues.   About 15 minutes a day of exposure should do it – and if you can’t get that much sunlight, be sure and take a supplement that contains Vitamin D.

5. Keep Up With Friends & Family
In study after study, people who stay socially active also seem to stay mentally sharp for longer.   Contact with others stimulates the brain in unique ways, prevents depression, and encourages mental and physical activity.  So those old friends you’ve been thinking about getting back in touch with?  Give them a call, and plan a day out together!

6. Relax & Unwind
Go for a drive in the country.  Take a bubble bath.  Put on the headphones and listen to favorite old songs.  Stare at a fish tank, butterflies in your garden, listen to the birds sing in the park. Whatever relaxes you, whatever brings you a sense of calm and peace, do it!  Stress takes a big toll on the brain, actually damaging brain cells, so relaxation is more than just a “feel good” thing, it’s necessary for good brain health!

7. Hit The Road: Travel
Traditionally a past time after retirement, traveling is actually good for the brain! Animal studies have shown that enriched, novel environments encourage brain growth.  So climb on into that RV, hit the road, and explore new places, cultures, and landscapes – it’s not just fun, it’s good brain exercise.

8. Write Your Memoirs
Writing your memoirs is more than an indulgence – it reinforces your memories, forces you to think about your history in new ways (and thus creating new neural pathways) and is just generally good exercise for your brain.  It encourages you to renew old friendships and family connections, and can provide you with a renewed sense of purpose and direction in your life. So go on… start writing!

9.  Get Your Zzzzz’s: Take a Nap
Contrary to popular myth, we don’t need less sleep as we get older.  But our sleep patterns may change, and instead of one long night’s rest, older adults may do better with a shorter night’s sleep, and several naps throughout the day.  Whatever hours you sleep, make sure you get enough to feel rested.  Sleep deprivation causes problems with focus, memory, and other cognitive functions, so don’t hesitate to take that afternoon nap.

10.  Stay Hydrated
As we age, the physical signals of thirst may not always kick in the way it should, but water is still crucial for proper brain function.  Keep a glass of water or tea handy, and sip on it throughout the day to be sure you’re getting enough fluids.

As a special challenge, see how many of the above suggestions can be combined…   For instance, on a sunny day, walk  through an unfamiliar park with a friend, while sipping a bottle of water.

Entry filed under: 7 keys. Tags: , , , .

Making Life Meaningful At Any Age Why Travel Is Good For Your Brain

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About This Blog

A healthy mind and brain is key to a healthy, active life. Come along for the ride as we explore the basics of brain health, with topics including:
  • Physical Exercise
  • Cognitive Training
  • Stress Management
  • Social Interaction
  • Sleep
  • Nutrition
  • A Sense of Purpose & Connection
Authored by Tori Deaux
Sponsored by Dakim Brain Fitness



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