Stay Active (in all ways!) to Boost your Brain Health.
As with your heart, keeping your brain healthy into your twilight years is a lifelong project. Fortunately, many of the habits that help to protect your brain create not just a healthy life, but also a happy and fulfilled one. In a recent study of adults aged 55 to 75, two life-enhancing habits—being active socially and undertaking mental activities like learning a language or using a computer, especially doing speed-of-processing tasks or games—topped the list for helping to combat age-related memory decline. Those who engaged in these habits also had lower resting heart rates, a sign of better cardiorespiratory fitness, and were less likely to live alone. For adults over 75, having a faster walking pace was associated with staying sharp. The upshot: Staying active and engaged—physically, mentally, and socially—may help to prevent memory decline and decrease the risk of dementia. Assess your level of activity in these three areas and make adjustments. If your work life tends to crowd out your social life, make changes and book regular dinner dates with your favorite people. If you’re a social butterfly but also a couch potato, carve out time for daily walks or other workouts with a friend. (Aim for 30 minutes a day, five days a week of moderate intensity cardio exercise plus two or three weekly strength-training sessions.) Enroll in a class—language, art, music, or whatever sparks your interest. And don’t forget these other research-backed strategies for maintaining good brain health:

  • Keep your blood pressure and cholesterol concentrations at healthy levels.
  • Eat a nutritious, whole-foods diet, with lots of veggies and fruit.
  • If you have type 2 diabetes, be sure it’s well-controlled.
  • If you smoke, quit!
  • If you have symptoms of depression, get treatment.
  • Limit your alcohol consumption to moderate levels—no more than one daily drink for women, two for men.
  • Prioritize getting enough good-quality sleep, and talk to your doctor if you think you may have a sleep disorder such as sleep apnea.

Source: Modifiable Risk Factors Discriminate Memory Trajectories in Non-Demented Aging: Precision Factors and Targets for Promoting Healthier Brain Aging and Preventing Dementia