How to Stay Mentally Sharp


A person making crossword puzzles.

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We believe there are countless things you can do to stay mentally sharp. Perhaps some of the most important are: NEVER stop learning and feeding your mind! You are never too old to learn and form new neural pathways in your brain. One of the key components to developing new brain pathways is to stimulate your brain with new learning. If you have been working crossword puzzles for say 30 years, well it’s time for something new. Perhaps try sudoku, learn to play bridge, learn a new language, something different that will challenge your brain. You must exercise and stimulate your brain!

Another crucial factor in staying mentally sharp, is your diet. Are you addicted to fast food, junk food, sugar, processed foods? I think you get the point. It’s important to consume a healthy diet loaded with FRESH vegetables and fruits, omega 3 fatty acids, and lean protein. Perhaps consult with your physician to determine if a Mediterranean type diet is for you. This type diet is comprised of foods that promote a healthy mind and body as it is so nutrient dense.

So, we now know to exercise our minds and eat a healthy diet. What else is important to stay mentally sharp? Well, you must also exercise your body. No, you don’t have to train like a triathlete for the Olympics, but you need to get moving! If you lead a sedentary lifestyle, of course first check with your physician prior to beginning an exercise program. Just get off your squishy tushy and get moving.  A good goal is 30 minutes of exercise 5 days a week. This includes simple walking. Do you have a dog? Dogs love walks, too! By being active and exercising, you increase your overall blood flow, including blood flow to your brain. This promotes brain health.

Have you thought about stress and your amount of nightly sleep? Stress, if not effectively managed can negatively affect your memory skills, impair your judgment, and impede new learning. Did you know that? You’ve got to let it go, relax. Why not begin each morning with say just 10 minutes of deep  diaphragmatic breathing. It’s a great way to reduce and help control stress. How much quality sleep do you get each night? Do you find it difficult to fall asleep and then sleep through the night? Does your bed mate snore all night long? Do you get any sleep at all? Seriously, we all need a good 7-9 hours of sleep each night. How many of us really get that much? Take an honest look at your stress and sleep and try to make the necessary adjustments so you can achieve mental sharpness!

If you make a commitment to the exercising your brain, eating healthy, exercising your body, decreasing your stress, and increasing your amount of quality sleep, you will be a positive example of someone living an overall healthy life. This is an anti-aging, healthy aging,  and longevity promoting life style. It’s never too late to adopt these ways-whether you’re 25, a baby boomer, or a senior citizen. Your age is merely a number you can’t control, but you can keep your brain young!  Why not make this positive change now, so you may stay mentally sharp and fit? Consider this an early New Years Resolution! To your health!

Posted on November 17, 2010, in anti-aging, baby boomers, brain fitness, brain health, cognitive reserve, executive function, exercise, health, problem solving and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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