7 Ways to Stay Sharp as You Age

Subtle or severe memory loss is a common side effect of aging.   7 ways to stay sharp as you age, picture of people doing yoga

If you or anyone you care about is experiencing this, you know that anything you can do to avoid it or prolong its onset, is priceless and worth any effort required.

Livestrong.com has a great article outlining 7 ways to keep your brain sharp as you age.

To summarize the article:
1. Move you body:  
    • According to Dr. Arif Delvi, MD, "Aerobic exercise has been shown to be associated with larger hippocampal size, as well as improving scores on memory testing."
    • "Exercise is the key to both physical and mental health as the body ages"
    2. Keep learning new things:
    • According to Dr. Alicia Walf, PhD, ""The capacity for learning continues throughout life". "Exercising the brain by learning new skills and knowledge helps to promote brain plasticity and cognitive function."
    • Creative new hobbies are recommended like, drawing, dancing, new languages, photography or painting.
    3. Eat for brain health:
    • Dr. Alicia Walf says. "Diet has a profound effect on how sharp our minds are, especially as we grow older,"
    • Eat more leafy veggies, nuts, berries and fish high in omega-3 fatty acids, according to Harvard Health Publishing
    • Avoid foods and drinks that are high in sugar
    4. Make and maintain social connections:
    • According to Dr. Alicia Walf, in Harvard Health Publishing, lack of social connections is linked with greater cognitive decline, higher risk of depression and earlier death.
    • connect and keep your mind active through meet-up groups, fitness classes, book clubs, volunteer organizations and even social media
    5. Play mind games:
    • Participating in mental activities such as chess, bridge or crossword or jigsaw puzzles can help keep the brain sharp, according to the Cleveland Clinic
    6. Focus on lowering stress:
    • The negative effects of chronic stress have been linked to advanced aging of both the brain and the body, Dr. Alicia Walf says.
    • "Honing self-awareness is important for recognizing that you are stressed,"
    • "Taking time to check in with yourself on a regular basis reminds us when we are feeling stressed."
    7. Get some rest:
    • Quality sleep is important to brain function. It helps nerve cells communicate and maintains the pathways that help facilitate learning. "A good night's sleep is essential for brain health," Dr. Dalvi says.
    • Aim for seven to eight hours of shut-eye a night. Sleeping less or more than that is associated with poor cognitive function, per a May 2014 study in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

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