Just like your muscles, the brain shrinks with age especially if you don’t use it. Changes to brain size, hormones and cognitive ability can affect us all. The first sign is often memory loss. Forgetting details like names and where you put your glasses or keys.
The fear of mental decline is all too real for all, with the increasing level of dementia across the UK and around 40,000 reported cases from under 65s a year.
These stats mean mental health awareness is increasing, with more media covering mental illness and understanding how widespread mental illnesses are.
This increase in awareness means there are more and more measures to protect our brains. We know a healthy lifestyle full of nutritious food and exercise aids cognitive function but it you also need to keep your mind active and engaged.
An Active Mind
There is growing evidence that giving your brain a workout will help keep the brain cells healthy.
A 2015 study of people over 50 showed that brain training had significant benefits. So if you want to improve memory, focus and be mentally agile some brain training could be for you.
Just like fending off natural muscle loss with age by exercising, you can combat cognitive decline by exercising your mind.
Stimulate Your Brain
Do a selection of activities to keep your mind active, read more, do crosswords and Sudoku and utilise brain training apps.
Stick To A Routine
Just like improving your fitness, consistent use of your brain is important and mental health is better if you use your mind everyday.
Keeping active and raising your heart rate is proven to delay mental decline. Aerobic exercise increases the blood supply to the brain, supplying it with more nutrients and oxygen. Arthur Kramer, a researcher at the University of Illinois has proven that fit people have sharper brains that those out of shape.
The best brain foods are superfoods filled with nutrients and antioxidants like berries, nuts and salmon. – The same healthy unprocessed foods that are good for your body are also good for your brain.
Brain Training Apps
They’re convenient and can be done on the go. They’re based on scientific research in order to be the most effective at stimulating your brain. Most brain training apps include a selection of mini games that test and improve a range of cognitive skills over time.
Top Brain Training Apps:
– Peak has over 40 apps created by experts at top universities, focusing on training memory, attention, problem-solving, mental agility, language, coordination, creativity and emotional control. There is a free version, but for £3.99 a month it will give you personalised workouts and keep a record of your progress.
– Elevate has 35 bright and simple games that improve real life skills, like memory, reading and maths. A monthly subscription for £5.99 gives you access to more games if you want added functionality over the free version.
– Fit Brains Trainer, with over 35 games, this new modern brain trainer will test your concentration, language and lots of other skills. Like the others is has a monthly subscription fee for more features at £7.99 a month.
Don’t Be Lazy
Your brain benefits from being challenged and learning new things, this can be new dance steps or new languages anything that stimulates you to think. Don’t be lazy and get into a routine of doing the same every day, do something new.
Have you ever noticed when you’re stressed you do not think straight? This is because stress disturbs the thought processes such as memory. Keeping calm is good for your brain, take up yoga or meditation, both are great ways to relieve stress.
The power of good quality rest and sleep has been shown to keep your mind sharp. Improving memory, aiding decision-making and boosting mental health.