Do Memory Exercises Really Improve Brain Function?
There has been a great deal of press in recent years about the importance of keeping one's brain active. Many articles have been written touting the benefits of activities such as crossword puzzles, suduko and puzzles in general. While many seniors have been told quite religiously that this is the path to a sharper brain, studies are indicating that it could be far more complex.
Recent research funded by the government took a look at over a thousand people over the age of 65 who spent time doing various mental activities. This study found that when patients developed dementia, their level of cognitive decline actually increased if they did more mental activities. Researchers theorized that the high level of mental activity just delayed the onset of mental impairment.
Your Brain Needs More Than Puzzles
Keeping your brain sharp isn't a one-dimensional process. There are many factors that the "puzzle approach" just doesn't take into consideration, for example, physical fitness. Scientists and researchers have shown that physical activity, even as simple as a prolonged walk, can do wonders to help people of all ages build sharper mental functioning and delay cognitive decline.
Time to Get Your Body Moving!
Physical activity helps to get blood flowing to the brain. As it turns out, this is a key aspect of keeping your brain healthy. There are many different ways to get that physical activity, and the way in which you workout can even help you keep a sharp mind as well. As we will cover later in this article, active lifelong learning has been shown as a way to keep your brain firing on all cylinders!
The Right Diet for a Healthy Brain
Just as physical activity plays a role in brain health, so does diet. When you avoid fast foods and processed foods, this works to keep damaging chemicals, sugar and food additives out of your diet. In short, your brain doesn't want processed and fast food. In fact, this is exactly the opposite of what a healthy brain needs! Further, foods rich in omega-3, such as walnuts and sardines, are vital for overall brain health and may even delay cognitive decline.
Active Learning Throughout Life is Essential
There are other steps to take to keep your brain sharp as well. Active learning in which you continue learning new skills and information throughout life is another key component in keeping your mind fit. Activities including learning to play a musical instrument, learning a new language and going back to college to acquire a new degree have all been shown to help keep our minds sharp.
Much of the "trick" is to be active. Study after study has shown that people who retire often see a steady decline in mental and physical performance; however, there is no reason that this needs to happen to you. By adopting a healthy smoke-free lifestyle, exercising and following a healthy diet, your lifelong learning endeavors will be greatly augmented. The end result will be a brain that is sharp even as you age.