Factors that Speed Up Brain Aging

There is some evidence to indicate that obesity in midlife speeds up brain aging by a decade or so.  Another factor related to brain age acceleration is soda.  Both sugar and diet varieties are implicated.  As a result of aging, the brain becomes smaller in volume, with a shrunken hippocampus, and poorer episodic memory.

According to an expanding collection of evidence, people with the lowest declines in memory and cognition have certain characteristics and common. All of them:

  • Sleep well
  • Enjoy a healthy diet
  • Pursue activities that stimulates them intellectually
  • Participate in a regular exercise
  • Stay active socially
  • Manage stress

There are a multitude of ways to improve the state of our health.  And, in so doing, slow down the aging of our brains.

Physical Activity

It seems that the most common prevention for age-related cognitive degeneration is probably exercise.  Therefore, let’s focus on exercise.

Effects of Different Types of Exercise

Moderate aerobic and resistance training combined in 45-minute sessions on as many of the days of the week as possible is reported to boost cognitively significantly in people 50-years old and over.

Researchers at the University of Miami discovered that those over 50 who were reticent and not involved in exercise experienced a faster decline in memory and cognitive skills equal to 10 years of aging in only half the time as people who actively engaged in moderate or high-intensity exercise. Most notably, exercise helped to slow brain aging by a decade.

Dance: There were tremendous anti-aging effects on the brains of seniors who danced. The German Center for Neurodegenerative Disease conducted a study in Magdeburg, Germany. It discovered that, of all the exercises, dancing had the most dramatic effect on reversing the signs of brain-aging.

Playing a Musical Instrument: Baycrest Health Sciences in Toronto, Canada explained that playing a musical instrument can help seniors to slow the age-related cognitive decline and to sharpen their listening skills. Furthermore, brain waves change when one is learning to play a sound on a musical instrument. This sharpens the listening and hearing skills. In fact, the brain will actually rewire itself to compensate for cell damage caused by disease or injuries. According to Dr. Bernhard Ross, Senior Scientist at Baycrest’sRotman Research Institute,

“It has been hypothesized that the act of playing music requires many brain systems to work together, such as the hearing, motor and perception systems. This study was the first time we saw direct changes in the brain after one session, demonstrating that the action of creating music leads to a strong change in brain activity.”

Diet: Diet is a key factor in brain health. Healthy brain aging has been linked to omega-3 and omeg-6 fatty acids in the blood in recent research. In another study, the Mediterranean (MIND) diet has been recognized to lower the risk of memory deficits in the elderly.

In addition, the University of Illinois in Champaign, Illinois showed that those middle-agers on a diet high in lutein (found in green leafy vegetables, spinach, eggs and avocados) gave similar neural responses than that of younger subjects as compared to other middle-aged people.

“As people get older, they experience typical decline. However, research has shown that this process can start earlier than expected. You can even start to see some differences in the 30s,” said Anne Walk, a postdoctoral scholar and the first author of the study. “We want to understand how diet impacts cognition throughout the lifespan. If lutein can protect against decline, we should encourage people to consume lutein-rich foods at a point in their lives when it has maximum benefit.”

Senior Population Doubling

The American population of adult over 65 will more than double in the next 40 years. As a result, it will rise from 40.2 million in 2010 to 88.7 million by the year 2050. Therefore, the importance of dealing with the aging brain will be ever-more increasing.

Although there remain a multitude of questions, researchers are delving into the aging progression of our brain throughout life. More methods to preserve our mental functions are being uncovered. And, this will lead to a better quality of life as we get older.

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Categories: Brain