Healthy aging includes ensuring a healthy brain so that your entire body ages well.
- The Brain Shrinks with Age – as we age our brains shrink; especially the frontal lobe and the hippocampus (see above image). These areas are used for complex mental activities, planning, basic learning, and memory.
- White Matter – the white matter of the brain can often become damaged as we age. Damage can occur due to head trauma; being hit on the head during sports, falling, and accidents can all cause the white matter to degrade or be completely lost.
- Cognitive Reserve – much like it sounds your cognitive reserve is thought to take over in order to compensate for damage to the brain; accessing other areas of the brain to perform certain tasks. When your overall cognizance is mildly affected, theory is that your cognitive reserve kicks in to replenish function and abilities by utilizing other areas of the brain.
7 Ways To Love Your Brain – Healthy Aging
There are actions you can take that may help you decrease your risk for dementia and other diseases affecting the brain as you age. Keep these ideas in mind to help you age well.
- Games – games are an excellent way to continuously challenge your mind and keep it working. There are certain memory games and activities that can help you keep brain-fog from entering into your mind; helping you take steps to healthy aging.
- Diet – your diet plays a vital role in healthy aging. The proper foods can actually help keep your brain healthier and deter damage or loss while also battling disease as you age.
- Lifestyle – probably the most significant piece to the healthy aging puzzle is your overall lifestyle. While lifestyle encompasses many things listed, other aspects to consider include your surroundings, toxins in your life, medications, smoking, other diseases that can increase the risk of brain damage, and stress.
- Stress – let’s face it, everybody has stress in their life and you can’t avoid it; however, the way you manage stress can make a difference between healthy aging and aging stressfully. Coping with stress can include breathing techniques, yoga, meditation, and exercise are all excellent ways to handle stress.
- Resting – your brain needs time to rest, just as your body does. The best way to fight disease and encourage healthy aging of your brain and body is sleep.
- Exercise – you simply cannot think of healthy aging without understanding the need for moving and exercising. Exercise helps keep your heart healthy, your brain healthy, deters disease, helps reduce inflammation of the joints and increases blood and oxygen through the body and brain.
- Supplements – while supplements are not generally a medically accepted form of health management there are a number of supplements that are thought to help in healthy aging. Ask your physician if you would be a candidate for taking dietary supplements.
It’s never too early to begin your journey of healthy aging.
Photo by Jean Bal