Flex your memory muscle

Many individuals throughout various stages of life recognize the importance of regular physical exercise to maintain health and physical function. Wellness services, fitness centers, parks and senior centers offer physical activities and fitness experiences on a routine basis.

Cognitive fitness or exercising one's thinking abilities is another important aspect of healthy routines that one should consider. Cognitive decline may be described as one of the biggest fears of our aging population. Prevention of cognitive decline can occur through modifying lifestyle habits as well as a concerted, focused plan of cognitive stimulation.

Modifiable lifestyle habits to support cognitive health include:

  1. Establishing regular sleep habits
  2. Eating a brain boosting diet
  3. Engaging in physical exercise
  4. Maintaining active social relationships
  5. Managing stress
  6. Participating in leisure activities

Creating a regular sleep habit is important for brain health and one's overall cognitive well-being. During one's sleep the brain shrinks in size allowing cerebrospinal fluid to "wash" the brain of plaques and tangles that are associated with the development of Alzheimer's dementia.  

Selecting foods that are known for their brain boosting benefits is an easily modifiable approach toward maintaining cognitive health. Foods rich in Omega 3 (cold-water fish) as well as walnut, ground flaxseed and spinach can be incorporated into your plan. Other brain boosting foods are berries, bananas, mangos and melons.  

Physical exercise is known for maintaining or restoring one's physical status. Additional benefit is that aerobic exercise increases healthy cognitive function. Aerobic exercise supports the health of the brain by improving oxygen levels and nutrient delivery.

An additional type of exercise is known as "neurobic" exercise. It is based on the premise that brain stimulation can occur when engaged in activities that stimulate more than one sense at a time or are unique because the "routine" activity is performed a little differently. Examples of neurobic activities or exercise include: brushing your teeth with your non-dominant hand, shopping at a different grocery store, listening to music while adding an aromatic scent of a candle or lotion.  

Active social relationships provide leisure opportunities that inherently create thinking challenges – card clubs, game nights, book clubs and bible studies sessions. Also, social relationships can foster a support network, reduce stress and facilitate opportunities for engagement in altruistic activities and enjoyment.

Lisa Anthony

I am the Marketing Director of Arden Courts Memory Care Community in Westlake

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Volume 11, Issue 1, Posted 9:50 AM, 01.08.2019