When people think about staying fit, they generally think about the neck down. But you can take plenty of steps to help keep your mind active and healthy as you age. Staying mentally fit may even reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia.
Want to improve your memory and concentration? Here are some things to remember to maintain your active mind.
- Get fit. Physical activity increases oxygen to your brain and can enhance your ability to process and recall information.
- Sleep on it. Getting enough sleep is critical to learning and memory. When you are sleep deprived, your brain simply can’t operate at full capacity, and creativity, problem-solving abilities and critical thinking skills will be impacted.
- Keep busy. Research shows that people with the most active social lives have the slowest rate of memory decline. Making time for fun and having healthy relationships and interactions all contribute to emotional and cognitive health.
- Start laughing. A good laugh actually activates areas of the brain that are vital to learning and creativity. Spend time with people and take part in activities that get you smiling.
- Let go of stress. Too much stress can destroy brain cells and damage the part of your brain involved in forming new memories and retrieving old ones. So learn to let it go and relax. Some simple meditation can improve focus, concentration, creativity, learning and reasoning.
- Use it. Just as your body can start to feel sluggish when it’s out of shape, so too can your brain slow down when it’s not active. To stimulate your brain, look for ways to give yourself a mental workout. Take time to learn a new skill or do things that involve a mental challenge like a crossword puzzle or a computer game.