How To Keep Your Brain Healthy and Active
For the first time, scientists have proven that brain activity has strong ties to longevity. This association between brain activity and overall lifespan makes brain health an even stronger priority.
Aging can affect the brain in many ways, sometimes contributing to issues with memory and overall health. Fortunately, there are strategies you can implement that help keep your brain healthy and active.
Scientific research continually demonstrates the importance of an active, healthy routine when it comes to keeping the mind sharp, even helping to prevent the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Whether it’s a five-minute walk or a healthier diet, taking small steps to protect your mind can help preserve your overall health.
Fitness plays a key role in protecting your brain’s health. Your brain can benefit from enhanced blood flow, lower levels of stress hormones, and improved cardiovascular health. On the contrary, individuals who lead a sedentary lifestyle can increase their risk for brain complications that include Alzheimer’s Disease and multiple sclerosis.
Fitness and exercise maintain a strong influence on brain health. Fortunately, protecting your brain’s health doesn’t mean you need to run marathons. Even simple physical exercises can have a strong effect on your brain’s longevity. These can include:
- Enjoying yoga or tai chi;
- Walking or jogging around the neighborhood;
- Lifting small or moderately-sized weights;
- Taking a casual bike ride.
These and other fitness tips help to keep your brain healthy and active, decreasing the signs of aging on your mental capacity.
To build healthy eating habits, try to consume real foods and avoid artificial ingredients. Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables, especially greens like spinach and dark-colored lettuce. When you’re drinking anything, stick to beverages that contain little or no fat, and few calories. When it comes to carbohydrates, look for whole-grain breads and cereals.
Supplements and vitamins can help you further pursue a nutritious diet. Many of these natural substances — including vitamin B12, glutathione, and HCG, are available through simple injections. These supplements help you fortify your brain’s natural defense against aging while helping to improve your sleep, your mood, and the performance of your immune system.
A Range of Learning Activities
Learning activities that help keep your brain healthy and active can include:
- Jigsaw puzzles, mazes, and other types of engaging physical puzzles;
- Word games like word searches, word association worksheets, and crossword puzzles;
- Board games, especially more complicated board games like chess and checkers;
- Home art projects, like charcoal drawings and paint-by-number programs, that teach engaging artistic techniques;
- At-home cooking programs;
- Math worksheets and analytical brain teasers.
Engaging the body is important when engaging the brain. While educational television programs can benefit the brain, you should look for activities that get you off the couch.
Sometimes, a stimulating experience is enough to prioritize brain health. Reading a book naturally stimulates your imagination and can also help you enhance your recall and problem-solving skills.
Another stimulating experience that benefits your brain’s health is meditation. Even a few minutes can stimulate your brain in powerful ways, helping to improve your focus, subdue anxiety, and promote increased concentration.
Even if you’re pressed for time, find a few minutes for some dance, listen to music in the car, write a short story, or sketch a familiar place.
We all need help remembering life’s little things. Whether it’s a wedding anniversary or a grocery list, the smallest details are often the most difficult items to recall. That’s why assistive options are so helpful; they minimize stress and promote brain health.
Smartphones can provide a variety of useful features to help you organize your day. Consider using the following assistive options on your smartphone:
- Creating calendar reminders for appointments
- Using to-do lists
- Organizing your workouts
- Setting alarms
Storing reminders and other details in your phone means more room in your brain for the things that matter. Digital project management platforms can help you take your task tracking to the next level, where you can segment the day’s work according to project. You can even add online accountability partners, to ensure that your tasks are achieved on time.
Find specific options that work for you, and put a system in place to track all your assistive tools so that they don’t become overwhelming.
Education might not appear to have a large effect on brain health. On the contrary, one study identifies a link between obtaining a degree in higher education and life-long benefits on your brain’s health and cognitive functionality. The same study also suggests that cognitive skills developed during schooling can delay the onset of age-related dementia.
In obtaining a higher education, you adopt skills that can be continually applied as you age. These skills include communication, research, and analysis, and indicate the potential that even a few years of higher education can have on the rest of your life.
The study’s authors found a positive correlation between your years of schooling and brain health. This trend makes formal education a cornerstone of ongoing brain health and activity. As you age, the effects of early education can protect you against some of the more serious threats against brain functionality.
Avoid Smoking and Drinking
Smoking can harm nearly every organ in the body, including the brain. Cigarettes can interfere with critical chemicals in the brain, throwing pleasure-based neurotransmitters like dopamine out of balance. In addition, smoking can make individuals experience higher levels of anxiety, depression, and stress, each of which can individually impair your brain’s ability to function.
Drinking can have many of the same effects on your brain. Individuals who drink excess alcohol regularly can often experience difficulty walking, seeing, speaking, and remembering basic details. Even after someone who struggles with alcohol achieves sobriety, the long-term effects of alcohol use can continue to impair his or her cognitive functionality.
Unlike damaging substances like cigarettes and alcohol, weight loss supplements can help you control your appetite without any detrimental effects on your brain. The amino acids contained in our appetite control supplements help you control your weight, while regulating your cravings for alcohol, cigarettes, and even drugs.
The brain thrives when your mind is clear and at ease. However, mental illnesses can compromise your brain's ability to function well, and can even harm its health. Ongoing mental health issues like stress, anxiety, and depression can harm your brain in a variety of ways.
One study suggests strong ties between prolonged stress and the risk of dementia. The same study notes that stress can worsen other co-occurring mental conditions, which can include depression and other more serious neuropsychiatric illnesses.
Similarly, mental health conditions like anxiety and depression can harm the brain in several ways. Both anxiety and depression can increase the frequency of suicidal thoughts, in addition to general irritability.
Depression in particular can have various negative effects on the physical health of your brain. Prolonged depression can decrease the size of your hippocampus, a part of the brain that plays an important role in preserving both short and long-term memory. Depression can also affect your brain’s ability to think critically, and retain important information in real-time.
Keep your brain healthy and active — and fight against the free radical damage that anxiety, stress, and depression can have on your brain — by regularly using glutathione supplements. Available in a variety of formats, glutathione helps limit the damage caused by stress, infections, even a demanding schedule.
Heart health is also critical in keeping your brain healthy and active. Your brain can benefit from even a few minutes of heart-minded activity each day, even if it’s only simple exercise.
Here are a few tips for maintaining heart health as you age:
- Take small walks throughout the day;
- Practice deep breathing exercises;
- Eat a handful of nuts;
- Study your family history to identify health conditions to watch for;
- Learn to recognize signs of heart attack and stroke.
A healthy, happy heart leads to a healthy, happy brain. Keep your heart happy with these and other tips, to help ensure that your cognitive ability isn’t compromised in any way as you age.
Sleep quality and quantity can each have large impacts on the health of your brain. Poor sleep can negatively impact brain health: It can make you irritable, contribute to memory loss, disrupt immune system functionality, and compromise decision-making.
If you can take the time to implement positive sleep habits, you’ll give your brain a serious chance at long-lasting health. This often means taking time to unwind after a long day, without the use of a smartphone or other electronics. Consider creating a bedtime routine, one that identifies when you turn off the television, when you brush your teeth, and when you slip into bed.
You can also take steps to optimize your bedroom for improved sleep quality. Keep noise to a minimum, and install a white noise machine if necessary to achieve a balanced audio environment. Set a temperature that allows you to sleep comfortably, and stick to a wake-up time to prevent chronic use of the snooze button.