Keep your brain in tip-top shape for a lifetime

Many people assume that as they approach their golden years, they start losing brain cells which causes them to become less sharp mentally.  While early research supported that belief, researchers now recognize that naturally losing brain cells does not condemn people to a lifetime of misplacing keys and forgetting the names of your grandkids.

In fact, there are several things you can do proactively to make sure your brain stays in tip-top condition throughout your life.

1.  Exercise your brain

While trying to do push ups using your forehead is not a good idea, reading a lot is.  So is trying to learn another language, engrossing yourself in crossword puzzles or find-a-word puzzles, and finally finishing that model car you started gluing together as a kid.  All of these activities require focus and concentration, which could be considered the squats and shoulder presses for your brain.

2.  Be mindful of what is on your fork

The foods that are good for your heart can also good for your head.  Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids are a good start, so are leafy greens.  If you are loading up on fruits and vegetables first, then heading for one serving of fish, you are on the right track.  Don’t be afraid of the spices either, many are chock full of antioxidents.

3.  Chill out to avoid stress

A great way to avoid stress is to get plenty of sleep.  Yoga, meditation and social interactions are all great stress relievers as well.

4. Know the signs of trouble

Strokes are the third leading cause of death in the United States but they do not need to be fatal or debilitating.  If treatment for most strokes begins within 60 minutes of symptoms appearing, most of the damage can be reversed.

5.  Protect your head

There is a strong correlation between head trauma and Alzheimer’s.  Wearing helmets, removing tripping hazards from your home and wearing your seat belt are all things you can do to protect your noggin.

What new mental exercise will you start this week to keep your mind healthy?

Photo credit: incurrable_hippie

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