As you age, your risk of developing conditions like dementia or Alzheimer’s disease increases. Luckily, there are many simple ways to maintain—and even improve—your memory and overall brain health.
As you get older, your brain goes through certain changes. In late adulthood, the brain—specifically the hippocampus—begins to shrink. This change can lead to worsened memory and cognitive abilities. However, studies have found that physical fitness can protect against brain volume loss. Staying active improves brain function, including learning, by increasing blood supply and growth hormone levels in the body. Studies have found that exercising can also help you retain new information better.
Physical exercise is just one way you can work on improving your memory. There are plenty of other ways to take care of your brain health. Try some of these simple tips to keep your mind sharp:
- Train Your Brain. Try one of the many free “brain-training” exercises available online, like these brain games from AARP.
- Get Enough Sleep. Research shows that sleep reinforces memory, and can help you better retain new information. Without proper amounts of sleep, you may struggle to remember things you recently learned.
- Stretch Your Mind. Experts believe that by staying mentally active, you challenge your brain—keeping your memory strong. Try learning a new skill or hobby to keep your mind active.
- Manage Your Stress. Too much stress can harm connections between your brain cells. El Camino Hospital offers classes to help you manage stress effectively.
- Eat Healthy Foods. Many fruits and vegetables contain high levels of antioxidants, which may protect brain cells from damage.
It’s never too late to start taking better care of your brain. At El Camino Hospital, we believe that keeping your mind sharp is as important as keeping your body fit. Learn more about improving your brain health today.
This article first appeared in the September 2017 edition of the HealthPerks newsletter and the Winter 2017 issue of Chinese Health Initiative Wellness eNewsletter. Learn more about the Chinese Health Initiative.