One of the biggest battles that seniors fight is the one to stay mentally sharp. Striving against cognitive decline can be tricky, but the alternatives are even worse. Declining mental fitness can drastically decrease the quality of life, as well as lead to different forms of dementia.

That’s why it’s so important to stay on top of your mental sharpness. With this set of tips, that’s never been easier!

Use It or Lose It

Much like how we work to keep our bodies in shape, the mind needs to be active to stay fit. You won’t need to run a marathon, though. Instead, reading or writing are great ways to work out your brain. Handwriting stimulates the parts of the brain linked with thinking and memory. Reading alone is a treasure trove of benefits for your brain.

Biologically, learning new things stimulates the brain and builds neural pathways.

Being a lifelong learner is a great idea for many reasons. Not only are you learning new things, you’re literally building your brain power. Biologically, learning new things stimulates the brain and builds neural pathways. Luckily, learning at an older age has never been easier since almost every state offers free or cheap college courses for seniors.

Playing Mind Games

Studies show that activities like brain games decrease the risk of mental impairment.

Staying active can even extend to playing games. The internet has become a hotbed for these “brain games.” Each game is geared toward testing specific parts of brain. Studies show that activities like this decrease the risk of mental impairment. Strengthening your brain and having fun is a winning combination!

Lower tech activities are equally as effective. For generations, Americans have done the morning crossword puzzle in the newspaper. Much like continued learning, crossword puzzles and “analog” brain games have widespread benefits including combating dementia and Alzheimer’s, promote memory, and even delaying mental decline.

Keeping a Healthy Lifestyle

The link between a healthy diet and your brain’s health is increasingly clear. Maintaining a good diet is usually enough to keep a healthy brain, but there are other things that will also aid you. While drinking a moderate amount of red wine can be good for you, drinking to excess can be detrimental. In fact, it’s well established that alcohol and cigarettes can cripple your brain.

It’s well established that alcohol and cigarettes can cripple your brain.

Along with using brain games to work out your brain, exercising your entire body can be just as advantageous for your mental health. This should come as no surprise to regular readers. Our article Jogging Turns Back Your Clock looked into how good light exercise is.

Lastly, a good night’s sleep is good for your brain, both emotionally and physically. We explored this in greater depth in Early to Bed, Early to Rise: The Benefits of Genuine Sleep. To summarize our findings, good sleep prevents stroke, anxiety, and Alzheimer’s.

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The importance of staying mentally sharp is clear. Our mind is how we perceive and enjoy the world around us. Unfortunately, mental decline in what should be our golden years is a genuine struggle. By using some of these tips, you can begin to stem the tide of aging.

Further Reading

Harvard Health Publications — 7 ways to keep your memory sharp at any age
Everyday Health — How to Stay Sharp As You Age