Early Steps That Can Prevent Cognitive Decline
Body, Mind and Spirit
By engaging in healthy diet and exercise practices, we contribute to a healthy memory. Taking steps early to prevent cognitive decline will inadvertently improve all other aspects of our life as well.
Stay Socially Active
It’s well known that people who don’t socially engage are at higher risk for memory problems than those who are actively social on a regular basis. If you make sure to schedule time with friends, join a club or go to church, and engage and some quality face-to-face time, it can greatly reduce stress and stimulate the brain. But, you have to put your phone away if you want the full brain benefit.
Exercise is a given. If you can get outside for a walk or go to a fitness club, try your best to make exercise a regular part of your routine. Forget about your worries, take a few deep breaths and focus on working those muscles.
If you are a smoker, you’re at risk on many levels. If you want to quit but find it difficult, do the research and find out how it’s done. Smoking heightens the risk of vascular disorders that can lead to stroke and constrict arteries that deliver oxygen to the brain.
The stress hormone, cortisol damages the brain and leads to memory problems which means it’s very important for us to do all we can to eliminate stress from our lives. When we’re stressed, memory lapses are more likely to occur.
Get Your Z’s
Make sure you’re getting enough sleep. This can’t be stressed enough. Sleep is vital for memory consolidation, forming and storing new memories. Deprivation of sleep reduces the growth of new neurons in the hippocampus and causes problems with memory.
Get Enough of the Right Fuel
Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. You can eat as many vegetables as you like. It’s not a sin. Most of us don’t get enough of the good stuff. We also need the omegas which are good for brain and memory.
Use it or lose it. Mental exercises to make your brain work harder can lower the risk of mental decline. Look for games or brain exercises that are fun. Your brain is more apt to learn new things when it’s fun.
Play games that involve some strategy, like chess or bridge. Also try crosswords or other word puzzles, or number puzzles such as Sudoku.
Learn Something New
There are lots of free courses online that might interest you. Be daring. Look for a challenge. The more you can engage your brain, the more likely you’ll be to continue learning.