It is important to keep the mind and body active as researchers who study the mind and its connection to health have spoken: the old saying that suggests “it’s all in the mind” is indeed true, at least where healthy ageing processes are concerned.
Just like every other muscle in the body, the brain needs exercise and nourishment in order to thrive. Keeping your mind active is critical to healthy ageing, and physical activity and diet have proven to be just as important as activities like reading, doing puzzles, and engaging in conversation when it comes to brain health. It makes perfect sense, then, that many age-related changes to mind and memory that many people may experience are related to their lifestyle habits.
How can lifestyle impact the mind and memory?
A sedentary lifestyle, or one that does not involve much movement on a day-to-day basis, can have unwanted consequences on the ageing process. Health experts have long encouraged people to be physically active as a way to strengthen their muscles and to increase coordination, balance, endurance and other fitness-related concerns that serve people well as they age. Exercise is also good for emotional health, as physical exertion boosts the production of hormones that enable the brain and body to feel happy. Experts now know with certainty that such exercise, supported by a healthy and varied diet, is also needed for optimal cognition, at every stage of life; individuals who do not exercise are more likely to experience challenges with their minds and memories.
An active body and a healthy diet are essential for a healthy and active mind
Recently, researchers discovered that the effect of one single session of exercise can improve brain function and memory in individuals aged between 60 years old and 80 years old. As well, a diet full of fruit and vegetables and other nutrient-rich foods like nuts, whole grains, and seafood is also linked to healthy brain ageing. Making lifestyle changes that incorporate regular and safe physical activity and nutritious meals and snacks can have a positive effect no matter when the changes take place.
Talk with your GP about safe and appropriate physical exercise that supports your brain as well as your body
Whether you are starting a new exercise regimen or continuing with your usual mode of exercise, checking in with your GP about the intensity and duration of your preferred modes of exercise can never hurt. Many different kinds of fitness activities are appropriate for every age and all levels of ability and physical fitness. If you’re not sure about what is best for you or your loved one, your GP will be able to advise you. Talking over your concerns from a brain health perspective as well as a physical one enables your doctor to give you a fully informed opinion.
Here are more ideas for brain workouts that support healthy ageing
Enjoying some social time with friends, family, neighbours and others in your community can be amazingly rewarding and wonderfully healthful at the very same time. Playing cards or other games (on your own or with company), as well as enjoying hobbies like reading, knitting, gardening, and other physical activities are all excellent ways to use the brain in a fun and positive way. If technology and apps are interesting to you, a wide variety of brain games are available to play on different kinds of mobile devices, but the local paper’s puzzle section and a pen or pencil work just as well. Also supportive of brain health are mindfulness practices and other forms of stress management.
All of our Guardian Angels understand the importance of brain health and seek to support you and your loved ones in all of your health and fitness goals. Contact us to find out more about how we can work together to keep your brain healthy.