It’s not just your body that wears down with age. Your mind also begins to fade. This is a natural process, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t fight it and slow it. If you use the right strategies you’ll stay sharp for a long while more than you would do just aging without thinking about it.
1. Don’t get stuck in a rut
New brain cells get made when we try new things. Most elderly people get stuck in a rut then stick to the same routine for years on end. This is like continuously doing the same exercise over and over without stretching. It’s bad for you and stops you being able to maintain the full range of mental movement. That range will slowly shrink until you’re no longer able to do the most basic functions.
2. Try new things
To keep a wide range of mental abilities online, do a wide range of things. It’s important to continue to expand your comfort zone. This expansion makes you grow new brain cells in new areas. Growing new brain cells is very important. Not growing new brain cells means losing abilities you used to take for granted.
One of the most common areas that the elderly stop engaging with is the social sphere. Often couples will only talk with one another, maybe they’ll also talk with their family, maybe they’ll also talk with old friends. It’s good to talk with the people close to you of course, but it’s also important to expand your social comfort zone to include more people.
4. Exercise and eat well
Yes, this is an article about brain aging, but in order to age well mentally, we also need to look after our bodies. It’s important to keep active, especially cardiovascularly. Sex can be fantastic for stimulating new brain cell growth, and is a good source of exercise. Eating healthy is easily said, but harder to make into a habit. Eat a varied diet with lots of vegetables and the least amount possible of processed foods.
If you can keep working, why stop?
5. Have a sense of purpose
If you give up, and get bored of life, it will end soon. The most important thing about growing old is to continue to feel useful and committed to improving things. Just because we grow old, it doesn’t mean that we have to stop working. It just means we can work at what we want, be that gardening, cooking, reading, or anything else.
Written by Marcomms Intern, Jack Seaberry