Follow these tips to stay smart and sharp for the rest of your life
It is natural for your brain to age. The nerves in your brain tend to shrink as you get older which is why you may notice that your cognitive function not what it used to be. For example, you may have more difficulty remembering where you left your car keys or you may find it really hard to remember people’s names. It’s important to know that an ageing brain is a natural part of life but significant memory loss is certainly not natural and can be avoided. Here are some tips that will help keep your brain young and smart.
Go the opposite
If you’ve been brushing your teeth from right to left, how about trying to brush them in the opposite direction? Or perhaps instead of combing your hair with your right hand, how about using your left or vice versa? Does it feel frustrating and difficult? Well, don’t stop because that’s a good sign! Your brain tends to get used to routines. However, when you do something different or against the normal routine, your brain is forced to figure out your actions all over again. You could also switch hands at intervals, while in the middle of a task. For instance, when you brush your teeth, try switching hands every 30 seconds.
Get your feet tapping
Always wanted to learn how to heat up the dance floor with your amazing moves? Well, here’s another good reason for you to sign up for a dance class. The New England Journal of Medicine conducted a study in 2003 and found that seniors who learned ballroom dancing had a 75 percent lower risk of dementia. Dancing helps to improve blood flow to your brain as it is a form of exercise. It also a great way to give your brain a good workout as you need to learn new dance steps and improve your coordination.
Bonjour! Hola! Kon’nichiwa!
Why not learn a new language? Learning a new language is a wonderful way to simulate your brain. Being a polyglot helps you to keep your brain active as you switch between languages when communicating with different people. A 2013 study also found that individuals who spoke two languages developed dementia an average of four and a half years later than to those who spoke only one language.
Ever wondered why Bingo, chess and checkers were common games played by the elderly? Well, maybe it’s because they know that it keeps the brain healthy! These games lower your risk of dementia by 15 percent, according to a French study. The next time your friends gather for a round of Bingo, be sure to join in on the fun too. Don’t forget to include variety. Do not limit yourself to playing just one type of game. Switch between games every now and then to continue stimulating your brain.
Listen to music
There’s great news for all music lovers especially if you enjoy listening to baroque music. A study conducted by the School of Medicine at Stanford University found that listening to baroque music has a positive effect on your brain. It helps with your memory as well and improves attention span. So, the next time you’re listening to Bach or Vivaldi, feel free to turn up the volume so everyone in the house can enjoy the benefits too.
If you’ve always been an avid multitasker, it’s time to stop. Multitasking can affect your frontal lobe, which is the part of your brain involved in decision-making and problem solving. Attempting to engage in multiple tasks at the same time ‘hijacks’ your frontal lobe and this can affect your ability to learn and understand. Instead, focus on just one task at a time. This allows you to learn better, understand what you’re doing and improve your reasoning powers.
Knit to improve brain health
The next time your wife or mom hands you a newly knitted sweater for you to wear, thank them and feel extra happy. Why? Well, it’s because knitting and crocheting are proven ways to relieve stress and improve cognitive function. Cognitive function covers brain activities such as acquiring information, memory and attention. Hence, the more you knit, the healthier your brain!
Control your readings
Dementia is a progressive decline in cognitive function and memory. Cardiovascular diseases and medical conditions such as hypertension and hypocholesteremia can increase your risk of dementia, especially vascular dementia (a type of dementia caused by blockage or low blood supply to the brain). Currently, there is no cure for vascular dementia. Hence, it is best to prevent this condition and keeping your brain young by ensuring that your health is in a good state. Always try to keep your blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol at a healthy level by enjoying a well-balanced diet and exercising.
Use a console
Video games are not just for the young. Researchers have found that playing these games can delay cognitive decline. A study conducted on 681 healthy adults over the age of 50 found that participants who played video games seem to delay cognitive decline by about four years. The next time your child picks up that video game console, join him or her for a round of fun. This will help to keep your brain young and there’s the added bonus of spending some time with your child.
Remember, dementia and significant memory loss is not part of ageing. Take the necessary steps to keep your brain young and healthy and you will enjoy the benefits of staying active and independent throughout your life.