One thing that many seniors are concerned about as they grow older is that they might develop dementia. This is a big problem for some and no one wants it. Although there is no cure for it yet, there are some things you can do to delay its onset. Following these tips will help you keep your mind sharp longer.
Risk Factors for Dementia
Genetics is often blamed for dementia but research is not in agreement with it. Although 20 genes related to causing dementia are known, it is believed that they may be responsible for only one percent of the cases. Other risk factors that are much more likely to promote dementia include smoking, drinking alcohol excessively, being obese, diabetes, lack of physical exercise, and brain injury.
Keep Up the Exercise
Physical exercise seems to be the best thing you can do for your mind. One study discovered that it slowed the onset of Alzheimer’s by almost ten years. Exercise ensures that your body and brain get the nutrients needed for better brain health. Besides helping you to feel better about yourself and enabling you to stay mobile longer, exercise also helps you have better emotions (less depression and stress), less pain, and a stronger body.
Exercise Your Brain, Too
Just like a muscle that will become flabby if not exercised regularly, your mind is the same way. It can become lazy – which will promote a mind that will not function as well as you would like – or are used to. There are several ways you can help your mind stay sharp. They include:
- Reading books
- Listening to music
- Do puzzles – jigsaw, crossword, or Sudoku
- Play chess
- Learn more – take a college course
Get a Good Night’s Sleep
Getting enough sleep each night will help you keep your mind sharp. Memories consolidate better when you have between seven and nine hours of sleep each night. It enables better recall later on. A recent study has shown that toxins in the brain that accumulate during the day are removed better while you sleep than when you are awake. Some of these toxins are partly responsible for the development of Alzheimer’s.
A lack of sleep promotes problems with some brain functions. Two mental functions that seem to be affected the most are creativity and the ability to multi-task. Not getting enough sleep also affects the body, increases your risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, inflammation, and heart disease.
Studies have shown that people with lower educational levels are apt to develop dementia faster than those with higher levels of education. Learning new things will help keep your mind sharp because it keeps you using those parts of the brain that helps cells to communicate with other ones. Aim to learn something new every day.
Stay Active in Some Activity
Retirement can promote mental decline if you do not stay active in something you are interested in doing. Instead of retiring to start doing nothing meaningful, be sure that you maintain doing something that interests you and challenges you to keep on using your mind.
Eat Healthy Foods
Consuming junk food is not going to help you maintain a healthy brain. It requires real nutrition that is also balanced to help it perform better – like putting a higher octane in your tank. Foods that contain a lot of fats and chemicals, or are fried, have been found to shrink the brain and harden the arteries. They can also increase your risk of inflammation.