Keeping our minds active and healthy is crucial to not only our mental health but our happiness and success. As we get older, our risk of dementia increases, so it’s important to combat against symptoms such as memory loss and improve our mental agility. A healthy mind can also make us feel more positive and relaxed, improve our concentration and regulate our emotions. So why not see if you can incorporate some of our tips below into your lifestyle.
It’s no secret that physical exercise improves both our minds and bodies. As well as improving your fitness levels, regularly playing sport or working out lets us interact with new people, challenge ourselves and of course release lots of endorphins. Studies have shown that people who exercise have better memories and cognition than those who stay inactive and those that work out to a high level can reduce their risk of dementia by as much as 40%.
Nutrients are our brain fuels. It’s easy to feed your brain with the nutrients it needs. Here are just three ways you can incorporate them into your diet.
- Omega 3 fats (such as EPA and DHA): Scientists have made the link between low levels of DHA and Alzheimer’s disease and memory loss. You can keep your DHA levels up by eating lots of oily fish such as trout, salmon and mackerel.
- Vitamin C: Vitamin C is thought to increase our mental agility so include fruits like blackcurrant and citrus fruits into your diet.
- Vitamin K: Vitamin K boosts brainpower and cognition. You’ll find it in leafy green vegetables such as broccoli, spinach and Swiss chard.
The discipline of meditation teaches us to empty our minds and concentrate on regular breathing. Whilst sitting in silence might seem strange at first, research has shown that people who regularly meditate have more control over their emotions, experience higher levels of concentration and are able to reduce stress levels. These key factors can also benefit other areas of our life such as our sporting ability. Did you know that research has shown that in competition, professional players show higher levels of concentration and self-control? With apps like Headspace and outlets like yoga, that incorporate many meditation techniques, there’s no excuse not to get involved.
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LEARN SOMETHING NEW
It’s important to keep your brain challenged, especially as you reach the age of retirement and you no longer have work or education to keep you busy and mentally agile. Learning a new skill is a great way to grow brain cells and challenge yourself mentally. If you find yourself with lots of time on your hands, you might want to learn a new language or learn to play a musical instrument. For those of us with barely a spare five minutes, it could be something as simple as reading a book, sketching or listening to some new music.