It’s never too late to start living a healthier senior lifestyle. If you’ve already made the commitment to being more physically active this summer, start thinking about ways you can work on your brain fitness too.
We have 5 easy tips to help you get started.
Tip 1: Go for a cold-water fish fillet over steak at the barbecue.
There’s truth to the old saying “you are what you eat.”
Your brain is the fattiest system in the body, composed of 60 percent fat, and researchers have found links between better brain health and a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids,
While there’s nothing wrong with eating red meat in moderation, studies show that adding more cold water fish, a food high in omega-3s, to your diet can actually help to fight memory loss.antioxidants, and other vitamins that help lower cholesterol and blood pressure.
So, the next time your retirement community hosts a cookout, opt for the salmon instead of a burger.
Tip 2: Find ways to unwind this summer.
Everyone knows that stress isn’t good for your health. While fight or flight stress can help sharpen the senses, our bodies just weren’t designed to handle all of the hormones that flood our bodies when we’re feeling stressed for days on end.
The high levels of cortisol and adrenaline that saturate our bodies when we’re stressed speed up cellular aging—weakening blood vessels, damaging neurons, and causing the hippocampus to shrink.
When you’re starting to feel your stress levels rise, take a breath, take a break, and make time for mental wellness. Whether you enjoy lounging at the pool with a good book or taking a leisurely stroll around your retirement community, finding ways to relax can improve your brain fitness and mental health this summer.
Tip 3: Talk to your senior healthcare provider.
Memory loss isn’t an inevitable part of getting older, so don’t dismiss lapses in memory as simple forgetfulness.
A memory lapse can be an indicator of a greater underlying problem like polypharmacy. The next time you go in for a checkup, talk to your doctor about how you can work on your brain fitness—especially if you’ve started to experience periods of confusion or forgetfulness.
There are certain medications that can trigger or worsen memory lapses, and your doctor may be able to recommend different prescriptions or over-the-counter medicines that have less impact on brain health and mental wellness.
Tip 4: Get out and get active.
Studies show that regular aerobic activity helps keep your body and your brain cells healthy, drastically lowering your chances of developing Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.
If you find it difficult to drag yourself down to the gym or health center, summer is a great time for you to commit to better senior fitness and enjoy it.
Exercise doesn’t have to be a chore when you can get outside and enjoy fine weather, your favorite hobbies, and good company. Get out to the pool for a water aerobics class where you can have fun and stay cool or enjoy a physical and mental workout with a physical hobby like gardening or dance to help fight off the possibility of dementia.
Tip 5: Take summer classes.
Summer school isn’t just for kids anymore.
A recently published study has shown that staying intellectually engaged in senior living activities can prevent memory loss and stop the progression of dementia.
Commit to lifelong learning and fight mental decline. Find an Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes (OLLI) endowed college or university near you where scholarships and a learning environment tailored to the senior lifestyle— a relaxed setting with no formal grades or exams— encourage seniors to never give up on the joy of learning.
You can find mental stimulation even if you can’t take OLLI classes. Any task that requires you to learn new skills or process information can improve your brain fitness. Mental exercise can be as easy as joining a summer reading program or doing the crossword in your daily paper.
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