Getting older comes with good and bad changes. One change you can be proactive about is your mental health. Here’s how you can maintain and improve an aging brain long into your senior years.
1. Weave in Mental Stimulation
There is truth to the saying “use it, or lose it.” Mental stimulation keeps your brain healthy and strong. Learning a new language, doing puzzles and developing new hobbies like drawing or painting all keep your brain active. Playing card games or reading classic literature and poetry are other great ways to stimulate your mind. Even brushing up on math skills can keep those neurons firing and active.
2. Maintain a Healthy Social Life
Social interaction actually helps your aging brain stay strong and young. Some ways to do this include meeting new friends and joining organizations like churches and local clubs. Getting together with family and friends can also help to keep social ties and brain health strong. At the same time, positive social connections boost emotional health while curbing anxiety and depression. That’s all good for your brain, too.
3. Get Moving With Physical Activity
Here’s yet another good reason to incorporate healthy movement into everyday life: It helps with brain health and wards off age-related declines in mental functioning. Not only does exercise help new nerve cells to develop, but it also promotes the connections taking place between brain cells. Exercise also helps to decrease blood pressure and cholesterol, and both of those strengthen brain health.
What physical activity should you do? Consider anything you enjoy that you can include in your routine on an ongoing basis. So walking, stretching, strength training, swimming and Pilates are all great options to consider.
4. Eat Well to Live and Age Well
Eating healthy, nutritious food is another thing we all know we should do at every age and stage of life. But doing so can help in so many ways as you get older, including its assistance with brain health. So make sure your daily diet includes foods with healthy fats such as olive oil, coconut oil and avocados. Also, enjoy fatty fish like salmon and lean protein like chicken and turkey. Eat the rainbow by including a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables, from carrots to yellow peppers to broccoli to blueberries and strawberries. Round things out with healthy doses of raw nuts and seeds. Avoid unhealthy selections such as trans fats, additives, sugar and processed food.
Even a modest amount of mental exercise each day can produce big gains and keep your mind as sharp as possible. Don’t fear the aging process. Rather, be proactive and keep your mind and body going strong well into the golden years.
Advice or recommendations are for informational or educational purposes only, not a substitute for a visit or consultation with your doctor.
Get more information about specific health terms, topics and conditions to better manage your health on bcbst.com. BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee members can access wellness-related discounts on fitness products, gym memberships, healthy eating and more through Blue365®. BCBST members can also find tools and resources to help improve health and well-being by logging into BlueAccess and going to the Managing Your Health tab.