It’s happened to us all – that moment when you can’t remember what you’ve walked into a room for.
A little forgetfulness is a normal sign of ageing, because your brain’s volume reduces as neurones die, which means some nerve cells lose contact with each other. Blood flow in your brain also slows down as you age, too.
But keeping your mind active can help protect your brain from the effects of some of these changes. Uniting has some easy tips that are great for keeping your mind sharp and reducing your chance of memory loss.
Never stop learning
Studies show those who work until a later age perform better at cognitive and memory tests than those who’ve already retired. If you’ve finished working life, pursuing a hobby or new skill can help in the same way. Read, play chess, write your life story, do regular puzzles, take a class, pick up a new hobby, or pursue your interests in music or art. They all help your mind to stay active.
Take a walk
For those who like to stay physically active, there’s even more good news. An American study revealed those who walked about 10 kilometres a week had a lower level of age-related brain shrinkage than people who walked less. Plus, what can be better than taking in some fresh air and beautiful scenery?
Watch your health
Conditions such as high cholesterol and high blood pressure can increase your risk of heart disease and stroke which, in turn, are thought to contribute to the development of certain types of dementia. Excessive drinking and smoking are also thought to raise your chances of getting dementia. On the other hand, people who eat plenty of vegetables and fatty fish and stay away from saturated fats are thought to have a lower risk for cognitive decline.
Believe in yourself
There’s a lot to be said for a positive attitude. People who believe they are not in control of their memory function are less likely to work at maintaining or improving their memory skills. This can lead to an even more rapid reduction in ability. If you believe it’s ‘mind over matter’, you have a better chance of keeping your mind sharp.
Wondering whether to go out with your friends this week? Do it! Multiple studies have shown it could help sharpen your memory. That’s right, maintaining meaningful friendships and regularly going out socially can help maintain your cognitive abilities, because stimulating conversations exercise your mind in the same way reading or learning a new skill does.
What are your top tricks for keeping your mind active?