August 31, 2022
Tips to Maintain Brain Health During Retirement Living
Maintaining brain health is an important part of living a healthy lifestyle. Especially as we get older, it’s important to get into a routine of taking care of our brains. It’s never too early to start exercising the most important organ in your body, and it doesn’t take much effort to start training. In this blog, we’ve come up with ways you can start exercising your brain today.
It’s no secret that physical activity improves your health. But did you know it can promote healthier brain function, too? Exercise increases blood flow to the brain, which happily accepts all the nutrients delivered with good blood flow. Dopamine, noradrenaline, serotonin, and other neurotransmitters are released during physical activity, giving your brain a boost in therapeutic brain function. This release can combat depression and anxiety. Physical activity also helps improve memory by making it easier for your brain to process and absorb information.
It’s easy to tell you that you need to be active, but sometimes not as easy to find the motivation to actually do it. The key is to find an activity you really enjoy. Swimming, biking, walking, dancing, and in-home exercises are all great options for cardiovascular activity. Try encouraging your friends to go for a walk or set a daily alarm to walk your pet around the neighborhood. Check your local swim clubs for any classes that you can if you prefer to exercise with a group. There are ways to make staying active fun!
EAT A HEALTHY DIET
Combining healthy eating with regular activity is the perfect recipe for body and mind health. A healthy diet fuels your brain for success. In fact, some foods have even shown to help improve brain power. According to Harvard Medical School, those include:
- Green leafy vegetables – kale, spinach, collards, and broccoli
- Fatty fish – salmon, cod, canned light tuna, and pollack
- Berries – blueberries, blackberries, strawberries
- Tea and coffee – green tea and black coffee
You can also avoid certain foods, like snacks or drinks high in sugar, to help your brain health. When you choose an overall healthy diet, your body and mind will thank you.
While alone time can be a nice break from the hustle and bustle of life, too much alone time can cause people to feel lonely or depressed. Enjoyable social interactions can benefit your mental health and lower your risk for dementia. Spending time with friends and family contributes to the cognitive function of your brain. Social interactions in general, even with people you’ve never met, engage your mind in conversation. It’s important to maintain a healthy social life to strengthen your mind.
READ OR WRITE
Reading has more benefits than just being an enjoyable pastime. Reading forces you to focus on the words you’re absorbing and can improve your overall concentration. It can also strengthen your memory as you go farther into the book, remembering the story as it plays out. Depending on the book, you may also learn new things and can use that knowledge in real-world experiences.
Along with reading, writing has shown to increase memory, creativity, and motor function. Creative writing engages your imagination and brain function. Simple writing like to-do lists contributes to concentration and retention. Consistent brain stimulation through reading and writing has extensive positive effects on your brain.
PLAY PUZZLES AND GAMES
Problem-solving and memory games that stimulate your brain can lead to long-term benefits. Challenging your brain with different puzzles or games can contribute to maintained reasoning, cognitive function, and memory retention. Games that help challenge your mind include:
- Crossword Puzzles
- Jigsaw Puzzles
- Rubik’s Cubes
- Online Brain Games
Consistently learning new things and retaining new information keeps your brain engaged. Puzzles and games are a fun way to use your decision making skills while promoting deep thinking and concentration.
LISTEN TO MUSIC
One of our favorite brain health activities is listening to music. You can even dance or make up routines to the music. Take the opportunity to get your grandkids involved in listening to music and dancing to help develop their cognitive function while working on yours. In the words of Johns Hopkins Medicine, music “provides a total brain workout.” Music has proven to activate almost all of your brain, which makes sense when you think about music memory being a relatively untouched portion of the brain in Alzheimer’s patients. Music is a powerful tool for increasing happiness and activating your mind.
At Sunset Senior Living, we promote healthy lifestyles for our residents. We recognize that the mind is just as important as the body, so we offer activities that engage and involve our residents. Healthy food options, group activities, and adaptive exercises are all part of daily living within our community.
If you would like to learn more about living at Sunset, contact us or give us a call at (217) 223-2636.