While neurological conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease or dementia certainly become a greater possibility as you age, the truth is that some level of neurological deterioration and memory loss will happen to almost everyone. That being said, there are plenty of things you can do to help keep mental decline and memory loss to a minimum. Here are three things you can do to help maintain and even improve your memory as you age.
- Eat a healthy diet
There is an almost overwhelming body of evidence that shows that nutrients play a strong role in cognitive function. In particular, a mediterranean diet rich in leafy greens, healthy fats and fish can have the greatest impact. Eating a healthy diet can also help you keep your cholesterol levels low and your blood sugar stable, which can help keep you off of certain medications that may make you feel less alert. The right diet will also provide the critical energy you need to do the next most important thing you can do to protect your mental and physical health.
- Get regular exercise
Exercise doesn’t have to involve going to a gym or even getting sweaty. Even something as simple as a 15-20 minute walk, dancing to a song you love or even doing household chores can get you up, active and get your blood pumping. Your brain requires a great deal of oxygen to work at peak potential so anything you do to get your heart rate up will also get your blood flowing, which will carry more vital oxygen to your brain. The more you move, the better chance you give your brain to work at peak performance.
- Exercise your brain as well as your body
The same way physical exercise is critical to your body, mental exercise is critical to your cognitive function. You can exercise your brain by playing math or word games or even playing social games like checkers, chess, dominoes or cards. In addition to exercising your brain through certain activities, socializing in and of itself has been shown to have a positive impact on cognitive function. In fact, a 2016 study on older adults found that busier individuals scored better on tests of memory, reasoning and processing speed than those that had a more sparse agenda.