It’s only natural for our bodies and minds to change over time. Perhaps you’ve gone into the kitchen but can’t remember why. Or, maybe you need more rest during the evening than you did in the past. This is completely normal, and there are ways to help prevent some of these changes that come with age and help to improve memory. Here are some tools that you can use to stay sharp as you get older.
Control your cholesterol and blood pressure
High cholesterol and high blood pressure can increase your risk of heart disease and stroke. These conditions could contribute to certain types of dementia and memory loss.
Keeping your heart healthy, means having well-maintained blood sugar, cholesterol, and blood pressure levels, including keeping you’re your weight in check has been associated with better cognitive function and improved memory according to the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease
Keep up your strength
Studies show that strength and physical weight training can also help your brain. For example, cardio workouts such as walking, running, biking, and swimming are some of the most important activities for decreasing your risk for dementia and improving your memory.
Exercise can grow new brain cells by increasing the number of capillaries and connections between our cell receptors. Exercise can also increase the production of neurochemicals that help us learn faster and retain more information.
Some ways to keep your cardio up to par is by working muscles in your legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms, at least two or more days a week.
Exercise with Friends
Light exercise, about 30 minutes a day, and socializing have been shown to reduce the risk of cognitive decline. If you can combine them, you can essentially help diminish some of your risk in one fell swoop. Exercise is especially important for the cardiovascular system because it elevates your heart rate and helps to bring more oxygen-rich blood to your brain.
Our brains consume about 20 percent of all our oxygen circulated throughout the body – more than any other organ. This oxygen fuels our brain cells and helps maintain needed communication between our cells.
Exercise can also help with better sleep and make us feel better emotionally. You don’t always need to go for a jog either; some studies have shown that gardening activities can be sufficient to lead to beneficial changes in the brain. (e.g., Park et al., 2019).
Humans are naturally social beings. With time, many of our social connections can dwindle, and the consequences of this can be severe. As we get older, we might feel embarrassed about asking others to repeat what we can’t hear sometimes for instance, or no longer feel the drive to be as social.
As we grow older, we also tend to become more selective about whom we keep company with, it’s a balancing act – with age we can also tend to be too selective with our friend groups.
A lack of socialization has been shown to speed up cognitive decline. High-quality social interactions are so important for our mental health, so keep a close friend circle around you to help you remain physically and mentally fit, all by keeping those real-life, positive connections.
Keep your brain active
Keeping your mind active is just as important as keeping your body active. Give your mind challenges to accomplish to strengthen it.
Don’t stay stuck with familiar tasks, and spice things up with things like learning a new language, a new hobby like painting or quilting, making a new cuisine you’ve never tried before, or tackling a new type of technology or app. Simple things like crossword puzzles and sudoku are also fun little ways to stimulate your mind and improve memory.
Prioritize sleep to improve memory
Sleep is just as important for our physical health as it is for our mental health. Our minds are quite active when we’re at rest. Sometimes we need those afternoon cat naps to recharge. Effective sleeping patterns can improve memory and help regulate our emotions.
Give yoga and meditation a try
Yoga and meditation can improve posture, flexibility, balance, and coordination. It also can calm the mind and improve peace of mind. Breathing is an important aspect of yoga which helps relieve stress and improve any other form of daily exercise you might partake in as well.
For instance, gardening is a similar activity that can help release stress, so yoga is a great way to help keep everything working as it should. Yoga can also stretch out sore muscles and make it easier on your mobility.
Learn a new hobby
Whether learning a new crochet pattern, watercolor painting, or creating a brand-new cuisine, the possibilities are endless when it comes to finding new things to occupy your time. Not only do hobbies fight boredom, they also positively impact mood and make it easier to focus by allowing you to do things you love.
Your interests are often universally loved by others, so the potential to find those who share your interests is practically guaranteed. Meeting new acquaintances who share your passions can help you make lasting connections. These connections allow you to stay healthy and naturally remain razor-sharp and focused for years to come.
The GreenFields offers many activities to help you stay sharp as you age all across our 52-acre campus. To learn more about independent living at GreenField Manor, visit thegreenfields.org/independent-living or our assisted living services at GreenField Court, visit thegreenfields.org/assisted-living. To learn more about our skilled living at GreenField Health & Rehabilitation Center, visit thegreenfields.org/skilled-nursing-respite-care. To learn more about our memory care services at GreenField Terrace, visit thegreenfields.org/memory-care/ or call (716) 684-8400 today.
About The GreenFields Continuing Care Community
The GreenFields Continuing Care Community provides for the physical, social, and spiritual needs of residents in a Christian environment. In addition to skilled nursing, subacute rehabilitation, and outpatient therapy at GreenField Health & Rehabilitation Center, The GreenFields offers a variety of living arrangements and support levels based on individual needs. This includes independent living apartments in GreenField Manor; assisted living apartments in GreenField Court; and memory care and enhanced assisted living in GreenField Terrace.