Keeping your body in shape is something we all know we should do, but it’s easy to forget that the same rule applies to our brains. If you want to keep your mind sharp and healthy, there are plenty of scientifically-proven ways that can help. So if you’re over 50 or otherwise feel like your mind isn’t what it used to be, try some of these strategies:
Get Enough Sleep
Sleep is an important part of keeping your brain in shape. Not getting enough sleep can make you irritable and tired, which can affect your overall health.
The National Sleep Foundation recommends adults get seven to nine hours of sleep per night (though it’s okay if you fall outside this range). If you’re having trouble sleeping, there are steps that may help:
- Don’t take naps during the day; they’ll make it harder for you to fall asleep at night
- Avoid drinking alcohol before bedtime–it disrupts REM sleep cycles that help regulate emotions and stress levels
Eat Less Junk Food
Junk food contains empty calories, which means that it has very little nutritional value. Junk food is high in sugar, salt and fat, which can lead to obesity and diabetes. In addition to these health problems, eating too much processed or fast food can also cause heart disease or cancer.
It’s important to find a workout routine that you enjoy and can stick with, says Nihar Gala. If you hate running, for example, no amount of encouragement will make you go out for a jog every day. But if swimming or cycling is more up your alley, then try setting aside time each week for these activities instead.
One of the most common questions about exercise is how much is enough? The answer depends on your age and health status, but generally speaking 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity 5 days per week (such as walking) has been shown to reduce risk factors associated with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia in older adults who are at high risk for developing these conditions due to underlying medical problems or genetic predispositions like APOE4 status (this refers to having at least one copy of variant 4 allele).
Learn A New Skill Or Activity
Learning a new skill or activity is one of the best ways to keep your brain active, according to Nihar Gala. You can learn anything from a musical instrument, to how to cook, or even how to play chess. Learning something new makes you feel good about yourself and it’s a great way of keeping your mind sharp!
As well as keeping your brain healthy, learning new skills also helps with other areas of life: if you’re more confident in social situations then people will see that as attractive; if you are able to cook delicious meals then this could mean people coming over for dinner more often (and therefore spending more time with each other); if someone finds out that they know something about something then this will make them feel special too!
Stay Socially Connected
Social interaction is good for your brain. If you’re not already doing so, it’s time to get out there and meet new people! The more often you engage with others, the more likely it is that your brain will stay healthy.
It doesn’t matter if your social life involves joining a hiking club or volunteering at an animal shelter–the key is that you’re spending time with other people who share your interests and passions.