Regardless of the age-based stereotype and popular opinion, cognitive decline is not inevitable as you age. Just because you get older, it doesn’t mean you’re destined for memory loss or, even worse, dementia. More and more research emerging suggests that lifestyle habits may substantially influence whether we age mentally or not.
In 2015, the Alzheimer’s Association evaluated the evidence of modifiable risk factors for both dementia and cognitive decline. They found sufficient evidence to support the link between several modifiable risk factors and a reduced risk for cognitive decline and sufficient evidence to suggest that some modifiable risk factors may be associated with a reduced risk of dementia.
In addition, they found strong evidence that a healthy diet and lifelong learning or cognitive training could potentially reduce the risk of cognitive decline. So, along with eating healthy, what can you do to keep your brain sharp as you age?
Easier said than done. We know. Unfortunately, stress is a natural part of life; however, not all stress is bad for your brain. Stress that you’re able to manage helps to challenge and motivate you, which in turn strengthens your brain. But relaxation and being able to destress are just as important for brain health. When you relax, your body and mind go into a state of calmness. This reduces inflammation and increases blood flow to the brain. Studies have found that meditation boosts memory and concentration. Listening to music has also been linked to improved cognitive health.
Pursue a New Hobby
We already mentioned how lifelong learning could help to reduce cognitive decline. One way to challenge your brain and learn is by taking up a new hobby. “Mental exercise” or mental stimulation activates a process that creates connections between new brain cells. It’s believed to even help the brain generate new cells. Therefore, any activity that stimulates you mentally should help keep your brain sharp as you age. Reading, word puzzles, crafting, and painting are all great hobbies that will help fend off mental decline.
Build Social Networks
We’ve talked a lot lately about the benefits of socialization. Well, warding off cognitive decline is one of those benefits. Social isolation increases your risk of developing dementia by 50 percent. And sadly, according to the CDC, nearly one-fourth of adults aged 65 and older are considered to be socially isolated. With social settings changing post-retirement, creating an active social life can be difficult as you age. Health conditions and restrictions also begin to play a role in isolating you from others. But it doesn’t take a crowd of friends for you to benefit. Even just a small group of friends can help you reap the cognitive benefits.
Your brain is going to change with age, as well as your mental function. But that doesn’t mean you’ll fall victim to cognitive decline and impairment. Instead, you can take action and help maintain brain function and keep your brain sharp as you age just by adopting some healthy lifestyle habits. To find out what else you can do to achieve Better Health, contact a VIPcare provider today by visiting www.getvipcare.com or calling 866-333-7897.