Much like physical health our mental health declines with age. There is no shame in it, as it’s all a natural part of aging after all, yet not everyone realizes just how much control they have over this.
Similar to our physical well-being, there are good habits that can help maintain our long-term mental health and reduce the risks of age-related cognitive decline. Funnily enough, many of the habits that promote good health in general also help to prevent the risk of cognitive decline as we age.
There is no end to the benefits gained from regular exercise. Weight loss and promoting a healthy heart are some of the more common benefits, but studies revealed a connection between physical activity and reduced risk of mental problems.
Regular cardio exercise will improve blood flow throughout the body, including to the brain!
2. Continue Learning
There is strong evidence that suggests years of education reduce the risk of the cognitive disease dementia. This can be almost any level of formal education, from community college to ivy league!
Even taking a night class or enrolling in an online course can ensure you continue to learn, and can be done at any stage of your life. It’s certainly worth considering as an effective way to stay mentally sharp.
3. Stop Smoking
As if there aren’t enough reasons to give up smoking cigarettes, you can add reducing the chance of brain damage to the list. Research indicates that those who quit smoking face a lower risk of cognitive decay than those who continue to smoke.
4. Maintain a Healthy Heart
A healthy heart won’t just reduce your risk of a heart attack, stroke, diabetes and a host of other ailments, but it can reduce the chances of mental weakness as well.
This is because many heart-related diseases, such as stroke, cause significant damage to the brain and your cognitive health, so be sure to keep your heart as healthy as possible!
5. Protect Your Head
It may seem rather obvious, but avoiding injuries to the brain can effectively prevent injury-related cognitive problems. Even injuries that occur earlier in life may not appear until you reach a certain age, so always be sure to do the utmost to protect yourself from brain injuries.
Always wear a seatbelt when driving, a helmet when cycling, and be sure to avoid falls!
6. Eat Well
Diets rich in fruits and vegetables are closely linked to a healthy body and brain. For example, the Mediterranean diet, which includes fruits, vegetables, fish, olive oil, and whole grains is linked to lowered risk of developing dementia.
You may also consider taking dietary supplement to enhance your brain function and mood. There are several brain supplements on the market worth trying such as bacopa, ginkgo, ashwagandha, acetyl-l-carnitine, phosphatidylserine, l-theanine, and other herbs and vitamins.
7. A Good Night’s Rest
Nothing makes you feel worse than lack of sleep, and the long-term effects can be even worse. Irregular sleep can lead to a number of issues including insomnia and sleep apnea, both of which are linked to cognitive problems like poor memory.
8. Stay on Top of Your Mental Well-Being
Common mental problems, like depression and anxiety, are usually a warning sign and may lead to a more serious mental illness, making it all more important to stay on top of your mental health.
Treatment for the likes of depression and stress are available and strongly recommended not just to avoid developing more severe conditions, but also to ensure your brain remains strong and happy.
9. Stay Connected
People naturally seek social engagements, and maintaining a positive social life can work wonders for your brain health. A healthier brain is less likely to suffer from cognitive decline, so be sure to try and connect socially in a way that appeals to you personally.
Whether it’s hanging out with friends, volunteering for a cause close to your heart or taking part in a new activity, social engagements are a great idea for remaining happy and promoting good mental well-being.
10. Mental Stimulation
Swap watching the TV for a fun yet challenging puzzle, as it could help boost your mental ability and thinking skills. This includes general activities that help to mentally stimulate and challenge the brain.
Being creative, solving puzzles, or playing games like chess can potentially help you maintain your brain health and sharpness when combined with a good diet, regular exercise, and social activities.