Feeling forgetful? Celebrated on July 22, World Brain Day is a great time to learn new ways to sharpen your cognitive skills. Follow these eight tips to preserve your mental abilities as you age:
- Get 7-9 hours of sleep each night. Sleep is crucial for brain health and cognitive function.
- Exercise regularly. Physical activity increases blood flow to the brain, promoting the growth of new neurons and improving cognitive abilities.
- Eat a brain-healthy diet. Consume foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants and vitamins.
- Challenge your brain by learning activities that require mental effort. We suggest puzzles, reading, learning a new language or playing a musical instrument.
- Stay social. Interacting with others stimulates brain activity and can help prevent cognitive decline. Join clubs, volunteer or schedule lunch dates with family and friends.
- Manage your stress. Long-term stress can negatively impact your brain function. Try deep breathing or engage in hobbies you enjoy.
- Limit alcohol. Excessive alcohol use is a risk factor for dementia.
- Manage your blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Your primary care provider can let you know whether your levels are in a healthy range, as well as what steps you can take to improve them.