These important steps can help maintain brain health.
Story: J.L. Thompson
Ask almost anybody and they’ll tell you dementia and memory loss are normal, unavoidable parts of aging. They are not, though. Dementia and memory loss do indeed strike many elderly people. However, a great majority of the decline in memory and focus that most older people experience is mostly due to the accumulated bad mental habits developed over their lifetimes. By establishing good habits for your mind before you are elderly, you can prevent mental decline in your old age.
Change your routine
Drive to work by a different route. Go somewhere new for lunch. Watch different programs. These periodic changes keep your mind flexible.
Play games regularly
Get together with your friends once a week and play games. This can develop the parts of your mind that handle memory and reasoning. The regular socializing also will provide a benefit for your brain.
Exercise is not only good for your body, it also boosts your brain. Work out regularly and your brain, as well as your body, will be fit.
Eat the right diet
Eat a balanced diet that is low in fat and cholesterol and high in antioxidants. Such a diet will give your brain a lot of protection against cognitive decline.
Cross-train your brain
You should regularly give yourself new experiences that involve different skills and senses working together. Learn how to cook, for example, or how to paint. Learning such skills encourages different parts of your brain to make new connections with each other, making your brain more robust, which, in turn, protects your brain against decline.
Never stop learning
Take adult learning courses whenever you can. Audit some courses at your local university. If you learn new things throughout your life, you will make your mind flexible and strong in old age. Try learning a second language, which is particularly beneficial to the aging mind.
Do things with your other hand
Periodically do things with your nondominant hand. If you are right-handed, this means doing things with your left hand. You should sometimes brush your teeth with your nondominant hand or hold your fork with it at meal times. Doing so also encourages your brain to develop new connections.
Do a puzzle every day
Try a crossword puzzle, a word jumble, sudoku, or even math equations in your head without writing anything down. This kind of daily activity can give your brain a boost. This habit will not only help your brain a lot later in life, it also will make it sharper now.
Establish these habits and they will pay off in your old age. They also will be beneficial to you in your present life.
About the writer → Dr. Antoine Kanamugire specializes in psychiatry. He completed a medical degree at the University of Sherbrooke and then a specialty in psychiatry at the University of Montreal. This story is an excerpt from “The 21 Unspoken Truths About Marijuana,” used with permission. To learn more, visit drantoine.org.