Brain Boost Techniques for Healthy Aging
Start early and stick with it. The Center on Aging’s Carl Eisdorfer says engaging in mental stimulation and complex cognitive activities such as multilingualism from a very young age tends to increase a persons cognitive reserve later, especially in women, but mental stimulation throughout a lifetime is equally important.
Exercise, exercise, exercise.
A fair amount of research shows what’s good for your heart is good for your brain too. Exercise that improves circulation appears to promote the creation of hormones that enhance brain health.
Have a program in place for relieving pressure. When exercise isn’t enough to defuse stress, try daily deep-breathing or guided imagery exercises. Studies have shown that monkeys living under high stress conditions loose brain cells and that people who suffered traumatic experiences may have a smaller hippocampus, the part of the brain involved in memory. Stress also elevates cortisol, a hormone toxic to brain cells.
Use those brain cells.
Brain fitness software can be good for staying sharp, as is any other mentally stimulating activity-particularly doing crossword puzzles, playing musical instruments and board games, and learning a new language. The idea is to push your brain to form new connections over time rather then perform routine tasks that don’t require much thought.
Take a cue from a Mediterranean diet, which relies on plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables; small amounts of red meat; lots of fish, olive oil, and other monounsaturated oils: and some dairy and nuts.
People living with stress tend to be in a bad mood or become depressed, and people with a history of depression are more likely to develop dementia.
Stay Socially active.
People with big social networks appear to handle stress better then those living in relative isolation.
Brain Matters Research
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