You keep losing your keys, forgetting appointments, you don’t remember someone’s name, your brain feels a bit fried.
Is this a bad sign?
The bad news is that as we get older many of us suffer from declining mental facilities. By the time people get into their 70′s there is a pretty good chance of suffering a decline.
One in three American’s over 71 years old have some diminished mental function.
A study by Duke University Medical Center, published last year in the Annals of Internal Medicine, found that 22% (5.4 million people) of that population have begun to see their mental facilities decline.
Add that to a previous estimate of 3.4 million Americans with full dementia and that exceeds one third of the 25 million Americans over 71 years old. That’s more than eight million people.
Is one in three of us doomed to lose our mental capacities?
There’s plenty you can do to try to avoid that fate. Here’s some commonly recommended activities that can help to keep your brain fit.
Top Ten Brain Fitness Techniques:
- Play games. Try the challenging ones like Sudoku, crosswords, and mind teasers. Great mental stimulation and good for relieving stress.
- Eat the right fat. Stick with the healthy Omega-3 fats like salmon, nuts, flax seed and olive oil.
- Exercise. Physical exercise gets your blood pumping into your brain and feeds it healthy oxygen.
- Learn a new skill. Learning a language, or woodworking or how to cook can work out a different part of your brain and keep you stimulated.
- Change your habits. Break out of your daily routine and do something you normally don’t do like take a walk at lunch or go to the theater.
- Change your routine. If you are right handed, try using your left hand for simple tasks (I’m trying this now and it’s kind of hard!) Drive a different way to work. Anything that forces your brain to take notice that you are doing something different.
- Read. Not the same old stuff you normally read but something out of your regular area of interest. Read any history lately? Or science? It can open your mind up to new interests.
- Hang out. You need to be social, hang around your friends and get into lively discussions. Great for your brain and entertaining too.
- Write. You can write about anything – your childhood, vacations, work, dreams, or anything that pops into your head. It stimulates your mind and activates areas of the brain you may not be using. Who knows, maybe there’s a best seller locked up in that brain.
- Drink to your health. OK, within reason. A glass (for women) or two (for men) is the maximum recommended daily dose of alcohol. Drinking in moderation has healthful benefits such as fighting heart disease as well as relieving stress and may lower the risk of dementia. (The definition of a drink: 12 ounces (oz.) of beer, 5 oz. of wine or 1.5 oz. of 80-proof distilled spirits.)
That’s pretty easy. All-in-all, it’s kind of fun to change what you do every day and to discover new things.
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