Everyone should know about the benefits of taking care of our bodies, but making sure that you look after your brain and your mental wellbeing is definitely just as important. We may all have the random ‘senior moment’ as we get older, but age alone is normally not the cause of cognitive decline. You can help prevent cognitive decline and reduce the risk of dementia and other brain-related illnesses so you won’t have any need for a neurosurgeon at any point in your life! If you want to find out how, read on.
Lots of research shows that using your muscles can help your mind. Moderate aerobic exercise can increase the size of the area of the brain in charge of memory formation and spur the development of new nerve cells and increase the connection between brain cells. This will end up meaning that your brain becomes more efficient and adaptive which will result in it performing better. Exercise will also lower your blood pressure and improve your cholesterol which helps reduce stress which will result in a healthier brain and also a healthier heart.
Brainy activities encourage new connections between nerve cells and may even help the brain produce new cells, developing neurological “plasticity” and building up a functional reserve that provides a hedge against future cell loss. Stimulating your brain with mental exercise like Solitaire is thought to activate procedures that help uphold separate brain cells and stimulate communication among them. Many people have jobs that keep them mentally active, but pursuing a hobby, learning a new skill, or volunteering for a project at work that involves a skill you don’t usually use can function the same way and help improve memory.
Some studies have suggested that smoking may increase your risk of developing dementia. Age UK say that smokers have 70% higher risk of developing all forms of dementia when compared to non-smokers. Drinking is also known to exacerbate feelings of depression and anxiety, so it is best to keep these to a minimum. You should also make sure you keep a healthy diet. Good nutrition can help your mind as well as your body. For example, people that eat a Mediterranean style diet that emphasizes fruits, vegetables, fish, nuts, unsaturated oils and plant sources of proteins are less likely to develop cognitive impairment and dementia.
Socialising doesn’t come easily to everyone, but is vital in keeping the brain healthy and our mental health in good shape. Interacting with other people – and having a supportive social network – boosts feelings of wellbeing and may act as a buffer against isolation and depression. It has also been shown to boost memory and cognitive skills. A recent study even found that having a strong network of friends increased the chances of living a longer life.
There are many ongoing clinical trials that look in to how you can keep your brain young, such as https://www.hmrlondon.com/, it is imperative that everyone understands that you need to keep your brain heathy as well as your body and that you need to do all you can to prevent dementia and other illnesses of the brain.