Staying active as you get older is an essential part of your health. Whether you do a light sport, go for morning walks or simply find small ways to keep your body moving throughout the day, your body will thank you for it later. Oftentimes, though, people forget the importance of keeping your mind sharp, too.
Keeping your brain active is just as important as physical activity is, and it's especially important as you age. Following some simple guidelines will help keep your memory sharp to make sure you're doing the most you can for your body as you grow older.
Brain-teasers and challenging word games are a great way to pass some time while also doing some good for your brain. Finding a card game you enjoy or doing the crossword every Sunday with your morning coffee will stimulate your brain and improve cognitive function.
If you're looking for convenience, you can also use the internet to find brain games. Online solitaire eliminates the hassle of getting out a physical deck of cards or you can access newspaper crosswords online when you don't have access to the newspaper.
Other ideas include downloading apps to play games against friends to motivate you or buying a sudoku book from your favorite bookstore.
If you're not a fan of card games or word puzzles, there's a plethora of other games to keep your brain active that you should have no trouble finding one that you truly enjoy.
Eat the Right Foods
Eating healthy is important for all ages to keep your body working as it should and give you the right fuel to get through your day. As you grow older, eating the right kinds of food is proven to help your aging mind.
Try to find foods that are rich in omega-3s, such as fatty fish or nuts. Omega-3s have numerous health benefits, including slowing cognitive decline and improving memory.
If you have a sweet tooth, try switching out sugary cereals for oatmeal topped with blueberries. Not only aren blueberries chock-full of antioxidants that improve brain function, but whole grains like oats help improve focus and concentration.
If you're worried about the types of foods you're eating affecting brain function, talk to your physician. In some cases, getting a blood test to see which essential nutrients you may be lacking can be a key factor to make sure you're fueling your mind and body the right way.
Get Good Sleep
It's a proven fact that getting in good-quality sleep improves memory. Sleep also has numerous other health benefits that are especially important as you age, such as muscle repair and boosting your immune system, yet most adults don't get their recommended eight hours. You may also have more trouble falling asleep as you get older.
If your sleep habits change unexpectedly or impact your day-to-day life, consider going to your doctor to rule out any underlying health issues.
Some common problems that impact sleep in seniors include lack of social engagement, certain medications, medical conditions or pain.
If you find that you're doing less as you grow older, consider joining a seniors' group or volunteering to increase your social engagement. Doing social activities can help keep you active so you sleep better at night.
Many people tend to watch TV or use another electronic before bed, but try picking up a book instead. The blue light many devices emit can mess with your brain's melatonin production, which is the hormone your body produces for sleep. Reading also stimulates your brain, which will improve cognitive function.
Consider keeping a natural sleep aid like melatonin on hand if you frequently have trouble falling asleep.
Keeping your mind healthy and active as you age is just as vital as physical health and is an essential part of overall health. Make sure you're stimulating your brain as you age to keep your mind sharp.