As we get older, many of us take steps to fight aging. Activity, exercise and diet are all tools to keep our bodies healthy, but they can also help your mind stay sharp as you age.
Keeping your brain active is one key. As we get older, more of the things we know become ingrained and require less mental effort. Studies have shown that many adults become comfortable with the idea of having mastered certain skills or topics. Not knowing can feel uncomfortable.
But it is that discomfort that helps our minds stay sharp. Embrace the discomfort, try to learn a new subject or skill. It's OK if you never master it. The acquisition of new information helps keep the brain elastic and healthy.
Time and Space
There are little steps you can take to challenge your brain every day. If you used to using a 12-hour clock to keep time, try using a 24-hour setting, also known as military time. Every time you check the time, your brain will have to do a little work to convert it to the format you are familiar with.
When driving or walking, try to take a different path each time. If you rely on a mapping application for directions, try going without it, or using a printed, non-interactive map. Whenever possible, avoiding using apps and services that do all the mental work for you.
As little as 20 minutes of exercise each day can help your brain. Aerobic exercise like walking or swimming is best, as it promotes blood flow to the brain. But strength training can also help by increasing your heart rate. If you can find a new physical activity that requires you to master a new skill, you'll be taking two steps towards keeping your brain sharp.
What you eat can sharpen or dull your brain. Skip processed foods in favor of more natural options whenever possible. The chemicals used to make foods taste better or last longer can dull your brain.
Antioxidants have been shown to relieve stress on the brain and improve motor skills and the ability to learn. Foods with antioxidant properties include: grapes, blueberries, dark green vegetables, beans and tea.
Omega 3 oils have been shown to sharpen cognitive function. They can be found in many types of fish, but salmon and tuna are very high in Omega 3 oils.
Mix It Up
Other foods that contain brain-sharpening nutrients are citrus, nuts, whole grains, sweet potatoes and orange vegetables.
If you want to keep your brain sharp, remember these anti-aging tips.
Get Out of your Comfort Zone