There is no simple formula to keeping your mind healthy, it just takes a consistent and steady action plan over time to ensure it stays vibrant.
Similar to your yard, if you want to have the nicest yard in the neighborhood, you have to take time to cut it, fertilize it and water it. As for your brain, you need a similar plan; and by following these simple tips, your brain will be in much better condition than most as you age.
Exercise and Diet-No matter your age, exercising and maintaining a healthy diet is crucial for good health. As for exercise, we have all been told exercise is good for us, but sometimes it is difficult to find the time or place. It is important to find a way to make exercise a priority. Exercise can reduce the odds of experiencing the health challenges that many older adults encounter from stroke, heart disease and diabetes. According to Harvard Health, exercise improves memory and thinking, so whether you engage in moderate-intensity exercises of swimming or tennis or just going for a brisk walk, it will pay long term dividends if you are consistent with a steady workout.
Also, Harvard Health reports that it is important to build a healthy and balanced diet. When you prepare your meal, consider designing your plate covering 1/2 of it with colorful fruits and vegetables, 1/4 of your plate should be whole grains and the remaining 1/4 of your plate should be protein, fish, poultry, beans and nuts. Drink water, tea or coffee and avoid sugary drinks.
In addition to eating well and exercising, monitor your cholesterol and blood pressure to ensure you maintain healthy numbers and adjust your habits accordingly.
Stay in the Game Mentally-The 3 things we see older adults getting the most value out of for their mental health are volunteering, caring for others and getting plenty of sunshine. According to WebMD, volunteering is good for the world and beneficial for your well-being. Studies show that those who begin volunteering with low levels of well-being may get a big boost of happiness from volunteering. One of the benefits of volunteering is the more you do in helping others, the happier you become.
Getting sunshine plays an integral role in our mood. In a Time Magazine piece in support of the role of sunlight in our lives, it noted, "Studies focusing on the brain chemical that is most directly linked to mood, serotonin: higher levels of serotonin correlate with better mood and feelings of satisfaction and calmness, and lower levels link to depression and anxiety. Even if it is going outside to check the mailbox, it could go a long way in helping your mood and mental health.
Get Your Rest- This just might be everyone's favorite tip, but it is important to get enough sleep every night. Without getting at least 7-9 hours every night, you will likely experience memory problems, be irritable and be subject to falls or accidents. Take the time to map out a strategy to establish a regular sleep schedule with a consistent bedtime routine and avoid late afternoon naps.
Social Connections-One of the best things you can do for your mental and physical health is to stay connected with friends and family. There are many ways to stay connected or build new social connections, but just take a few minutes daily to check on others. The easiest way to do this is by picking up a phone and dropping a note to old friends. Not only will this lift the spirits of your old friend, but it will help you as well.