This is a collaborative post.
Your brain is probably the most critical organ in your body, and your brain’s health impacts everything you do – every thought, every word, every action, every behaviour, and every feeling. Because of this, it really makes sense to take care of your brain and to learn about it.
While ageing doesn’t mean an automatic decline in your brain’s health, it is very common for the health of your mind to deteriorate as you get older, making it even more important to look after it while you can, and one of the best ways you can help your brain is to do physical exercise. Physical exercise improves learning and other brain functions through increased brain volume, blood supply and growth hormone levels in the body. Walking can help you clear your mind, decrease anxious feelings, improve your mood and burn some calories all at the same time.
In addition to this, it is essential to eat a healthy diet which consists of lean protein, fruits, vegetables, nuts and healthy fats such as olive oil. You also need to make sure you are drinking enough water as your brain is 80% water, so avoid anything that dehydrates it – such as caffeine or alcohol.
While it’s essential to exercise your body and your brain, it’s just as important to get enough rest too. You should be trying to get at least seven hours of sleep a night as this has been shown to help your brain function at optimal levels. If you don’t get enough sleep, you are at risk of having overall decreased blood flow to your brain, which disrupts thinking, memory, and concentration. You also need to try and avoid stress as well and make sure you take time to relax.
It’s important to look after other areas of your body to keep your brain in tip-top condition too, did you know that your hearing could be linked to your brain health? Some experts believe that the treatment of hearing loss in mid-to-late life could prevent 9% of dementia cases globally. Hearing aids are the most effective way to treat noise-induced or age-related hearing loss, and there are now hearing aids that offer superior speech recognition, so it doesn’t have to be a problem that holds you back.
Looking after your brain is also crucial for your mental health, well-being and happiness, so to kill two birds with one stone if you are socially active and engage with others regularly then your brain will be healthier and also by doing this, you will be happier. Also, reading, writing, playing board or card games, doing crosswords and other puzzles, and participating in organized group discussions can be cognitively challenging activities, so try and participate in them as much as you can. If there’s no hobby you enjoy, but you know you need to get out more and meet new people then perhaps volunteering is for you as this helps lower mortality and depression rates and slows down the decline in physical health and cognitive function.