Keep Your Brain Sharp as You Age
To hear some people tell it, getting older always means losing your mental edge. Yet research tells a much different story. It shows that most people can remain mentally sharp well into their 60s, 70s, and beyond.
Certain lifestyle habits can help protect the brain over time. These habits may reduce the risk for cognitive decline—a decrease in mental abilities such as learning, language, and memory. The following strategies can help you take care of your brain.
Get Regular Physical Activity
Physical activity that raises your heart rate is as good for your brain as it is for the rest of your body. It increases blood flow, which provides extra nourishment to your brain. Plus, it reduces potential risk factors for dementia, including diabetes, high blood pressure, and unhealthy cholesterol levels. Talk with your health care provider about which activities are best for you.
Give Your Brain a Mental Workout
Regularly exercising your mind also helps keep your brain in tip-top shape. Here are a few ways to stay mentally active:
- Learn how to play an instrument or cook a new cuisine.
- Play games that require strategic thinking.
- Solve a crossword or put together a jigsaw puzzle.
- Try a brain training app, such as Lumosity.
Protect Against Head Injuries
A brain injury can increase the risk for cognitive decline and dementia. So, buckle your seat belt when riding in a vehicle and put on a helmet when pedaling a bike. Reduce your risk of falling at home by making sure rooms are well-lit and floors are free of clutter.
Above all, don’t buy into negative stereotypes about aging. There’s a lot you can do to help keep your thinking sharp. And the more you believe in yourself, the more likely you are to take steps that promote a healthier brain.
Start the Conversation
Whether you’d like to meet with a primary care provider (PCP) or neurologist to discuss memory care concerns, our Find a Doctor tool can help!
If you’re looking for a PCP, select “Primary Care Provider.” For a neurologist, click “Specialist” and then scroll through the specialties list to find “Neurology.” To narrow down your options and find the right fit for you, sort by gender or location.