As we grow older, we cannot help noticing that
our brains dont work as well as they once
did. We forget things, including names and keys
and sometimes appointments. We wonder how much
worse its going to get. The aging population
has become a prime market for brain calisthenics
programs and other mental workouts (as well as
a plethora of useless and occasionally dangerous
supplements, hormones, vitamin cocktails, and
diets). Can use it or lose it really
be applied to mental ability?
Exercising the brain can enrich your life, banish
boredom, help prevent or treat depression, confer
a sense of accomplishment, and become a pathway
to new friendships. You dont need to invest
in special games or training programs.
If you follow the tips below, its a good
bet you will feel better, function more effectively,
and enjoy life more.
Make self-education a lifelong project.
Read, take a class, do puzzles, play intellectually
stimulating games, pursue an absorbing hobbywhatever
offers you a challenge and makes you think. Try
not to tackle things that are too difficult and
Get some exercise daily. Theres
pretty good evidence for exercises benefits
on the brain and mood. Regular activity provides
your brain with a better blood supply. Adults
who exercise tend to do better on mental tests.
Its never too late to start. Brisk walking
is an excellent form of daily exercise.
Get adequate sleep. If insomnia is affecting
your ability to function, get medical advice.
Stay in touch. Volunteer, join a group,
go to community meetings, travel with companions,
cook a meal for friends. Interacting with others
benefits your brain more than just relaxing or
Treat depression. This is important for
Eat well. Stick to a heart-healthy diet.
Eat some fish. Keep your calorie intake moderate.
Research suggests that what benefits the cardiovascular
system can also benefit the brain.
Get checkups. Chronic conditions such
as diabetes, high blood pressure, and cardiovascular
disease can impact your mental acuity. Do all
you can to stay in good health and to treat any
condition you have.
Drink alcohol in moderation, if at all.
Dont smoke or use tobacco in any
form, and try to avoid other peoples smoke.
Dont waste your mental energy on
the claims of anti-aging dietary supplements
and potions promoted for improving memory. Just
remember (no mnemonics necessary) that products
labeled anti-aging do not work.