One of the first things people recognize as a sign of aging is becoming forgetful. Our brains begin to change as we age, affecting how we store memories. It’s a common misconception that forgetfulness is an early symptom of Alzheimer’s disease. Not all forgetfulness is serious. Forgetting where you put your glasses will become more frequent, but there are things you can do to keep your mind young.
Mental activity keeps your mind engaged and challenged just as physical activity keeps your body strong. It’s tempting to kick back and relax when entering your retirement years, but research shows that it’s important to keep your brain working every day. This slows down the aging process. Try these activities to keep your mind working:
- Take a cue from your children or grandchildren and play a video game. TIME reports that a new study shows the Nintendo game Brain Age can actually improve cognitive function.
- Play Scrabble or do a crossword puzzle.
- Start a new hobby, such as crafts, painting, or bird-watching.
- Stay up to date with current events.
- Get physical activity which may aid in your defense against cognitive decline
Another area that can help you be maintain a healthy brain as you age is your diet. According to OregonLive.com, researchers at Oregon Health & Science University found a nutrient in fruits and vegetables and an omega-3 pattern found in fish that appears to promote brain health.
Be encouraged by the positive effects of aging on the brain. Many people actually acquire new skills as they grow older. Middle-aged adults typically do better on tests involving knowledge and information than younger adults do. Word use and vocabulary also improve with age.
It’s important that you listen to and stay in tune with your body. If you ever feel that you are experiencing symptoms that indicate something other than normal aging, please call your primary care physician immediately. You are also welcome to call our office with any questions.