Keeping your mind sharp and healthy is just as important as making healthy choices for your body. We all have had those moments when we walk into a room and say to yourself, now why did I come in here? What was it I was looking for? Studies have shown that you can help prevent cognitive decline and reduce the risk of dementia with some basic good health habits: staying physically active, getting enough sleep, not smoking, having good social connections, limiting alcohol to one drink a day, and eating a balanced diet low in saturated and trans fats.
Memory changes can be frustrating, but the good news is that, thanks to decades of research, there are various strategies we can use to protect and sharpen our minds. Here are a few things you can put into practice.
- Never stop learning, Follow your passion, take a course on something you always wanted to learn about.
- Try not using a calculator, doing simple math in your head or on paper is a great exercise. We live in an electronic age, the same is true for writing. Try looking up words in a dictionary instead of using spell check.
- Exercise regularly or join a Zumba class, or a tennis class or try out water aerobics. Being social and exercising is a double bonus.
- Doing a crossword puzzle, sudoko, or a board game really does sharpen your mind.
- A friend taught me about visual memory to remember something. Try visualizing a house and in your house choose a room where you would like to place something you would like to remember, maybe it’s a pin number or a code. Now every time you want to remember that code or pin just visualize what room you put it in and you should be able to remember it more easily.
- Sleep is another key factor, try to get your 7-8 hours each night.
If you feel like your brain is on auto-pilot every day then it is and you are not being challenged. Start today, try something new, even if it is as simple as trying a new recipe or reading a good book. Tune in, tone up and Stay Sharp!