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Longevity is top on all of our to do lists, but if we don’t keep our minds sharp it won’t be all it’s cracked up to be. Even with all of the jokes about “getting older” and forgetfullness, research shows that there is only a slight decline in mental acuity over time. It just takes a little longer sometimes!
Some problems, however, become more common with age and can certainly hinder your mental abilities. Hearing loss, changes in vision, medications – they’re all things that impact the way we receive and process information. Medications can actually affect concentration, initiate memory loss, or change the levels of key brain chemicals.
Did you know that Imaging Studies suggest that hypertension actually causes small strokes that damage the brain? People with high blood pressure are more prone to memory problems than those with normal blood pressure.
Fortunately, researchers have done their homework and serve us up a steady diet of ways to get sharp and stay sharp!
6 of the surefire “Stay Sharp” measures that all experts agree on are listed below: (If you read this blog or the articles on TMFC frequently, you’ll recognize many of them – they’re the same mind-stretching exercises and lifestyle we teach and preach)
Become More Mentally Active.
Make “becomming more mentally active” part of your daily life. Play challenging board games, read a lot more, work crossword puzzles, Jumbles, Sudoku, play a musical instrument – anything, basically that keeps your mind busy. Also, work on acquiring new skills, as your mind absolutely loves this sort of thing! Activities like this expand the web of in the brain and help keep neurons nimble and alive. Great stuff!
Become More Physically Active.
Why? Because brain cells literally crave a steady diet of oxygen. Also, people who care about their body tend to care about their mind as well. Vigorous exercise in’t necessary — walking at an easy pace will provide your brain cells with the oxygen they so richly need and crave. A consistent walking program has been proven in studies to reduce the likelihood of developing dementia.
Get at Least 6 Hours of Sleep Each Night. Too little sleep can have a huge effect on memory. Six hours may be the minimum needed, although researchers testing college students found those who had eight hours were better able to learn new skills.
Unwind and Relax as Often as Possible. Researchers tell us that consistently high levels of stress hormones can impair nerve cells which oversee certain types of learning and recall. Find whatever activities help you to relax and make them a part of your everyday routine. Whether it’s relaxing in a bath, practicing yoga, meditation, etc. – don’t forget to unwind. If you don’t, you’ll only be asking for trouble.
Watch your weight! Staying within a normal weight range lowers your risk for illnesses such as diabetes, hypertension, and stroke, which can compromise memory to varying degrees.
Make each moment count double,