It is important to keep our brains healthy, so try the following everyday activities to trigger brain stimulation, improve cognitive abilities and reduce cognitive decline.
We rely on our brains for everything, yet we often don’t think about taking care of them. Luckily, it is quite easy to look after our brains. Most of the things we do for our bodies, such as following a good diet and taking exercise are also good for our brains. But there are also a few brain stimulation exercises we can use to keep our brain’s in tip-top form.
1. Get Moving
As I have mentioned before, exercise is good for the brain as well as the body. This is because exercise increases blood flow to the whole body, including the brain.
50 minutes of moderate activity three times a week is a good target to aim for. This can boost your cognition and reduce your risk of cognitive decline.
2. Embark on a Lifelong Learning Journey
The phrase ‘use it or lose it’ is particularly applicable to the brain. Studies have found that formal education can reduce cognitive decline as we grow older. Education also provides brain stimulation that can improve our cognitive function.
Learning something new can boost your life in lots of other ways too. You could improve your financial prospects and find new friends that share your interests. So, sign up for a class at a local college, community centre or online and give your brain a boost.
3. Be Sociable
Interacting with others is actually one of the most complicated tasks your brain can undertake. Socialising requires you to listen, show empathy, think, judge other people’s moods, decide what to say, read body language and so much more.
In addition, isolation has been linked with cognitive decline. So get out and about with friends and family knowing that you are giving your brain a boost. You could also consider joining a club or volunteering in your community to give your brain an extra boost.
4. Fuel Your Brain
Your brain relies on you to provide it with all the fuel it needs. Eating a good diet can help your brain perform at an optimum level and reduce the risk of cognitive decline.
A diet with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables will improve your body and brain health. Following a Mediterranean style diet is thought to be particularly good. In addition, omega-3 fatty acids found oily fish and fish oil supplements can protect your brain and improve cognitive function.
Avoid processed food, white starchy carbs and sugary foods as these can have a detrimental effect on your brain health.
Recently studies have suggested that meditation can have a number of beneficial effects on the brain. Meditation appears to reduce stress which can be bad for the brain.
Meditation can also relieve depression and anxiety, both of which can have a negative effect on the brain. Meditation may also help us focus and concentrate. It has also been shown to preserve the brain and reduce cognitive decline.
6. Sleep Easy
Sleep is essential for our brains. Scientists aren’t exactly sure why, but sleep probably allows your brain can consolidate and repair. Lack of sleep can seriously reduce your cognitive function. If you are sleep deprived, you may experience problems with focus, thinking and memory. So make sure you get a good night’s sleep to keep your brain healthy.
If you have trouble getting off to sleep or staying asleep, then take a look at your sleep hygiene. Too much caffeine, eating late, exercising late and exposure to blue light late in the day can all interfere with our sleeping patterns.
7. Practice Self-Care
Stress, anxiety and depression can all have an effect on our cognitive function. If you are suffering from any of these conditions, then it is worth getting some help. There are many sources of help and advice available for mental health problems including counselling, online resources, associations and books.
You should also make taking care of your mental health a priority. Set aside time to do things you love. Start a yoga or meditation practice. Get out and about with friends or family. Try spending more time in nature as this has also been shown to reduce stress and anxiety.
8. Challenge Your Brain
Many people turn to brain training games to improve their cognitive function. However, studies have suggested that your brain just gets better at those particular games rather than improving overall.
So try to use a range of mental challenges to keep your brain healthy. Any kind of puzzle or challenge will help. Try crosswords, jigsaw puzzles or logic problems. But also do a variety of activities, including practical tasks and creative pursuits.
There is no one thing that can guarantee your brain will function at its best and not begin to suffer from cognitive decline. However, a combination of all of the above will help your brain stay sharp.