Maintaining Physical Fitness and Brain Health

How you live your life has a big impact on your physical fitness and brain health as we age. Your diet, how much you exercise, getting enough sleep, getting out and socializing, and relieving stress in your life, are all important factors to help to prevent cognitive decline and illness. It is never too late or too early to incorporate healthy habits.

Adopting some or all of these lifestyle tips, can make a huge difference in how well we do physically and mentally, as we get older.

  • Physical Exercise - People who exercise regularly have a lower risk of developing cognitive decline issues as exercise improves blood flow and memory and helps to prevent illness, such as cancer, diabetes, arthritis, and other conditions from affecting us as we age.
  • Mental Fitness - Mental exercise is just as important as physical exercise in keeping your brain fit and healthy. Mental exercises helps the brain to function and promote new brain cell growth helping to decrease the likelihood of developing cognitive decline. Like our muscles, you have to use your brain or you lose it.
  • Food and Nutrition - As we grow older, our body is exposed to more harmful stress due to lifestyle and environmental factors, which damage cells in our body. Foods rich in antioxidants, such as those that are low in saturated fat, and high in good fats, such as fruits and low-fat dairy, and vegetables, are key ingredients to preventing these harmful factors.
    • Consume whole grains, poultry, fish and nuts.
    • Decrease your intake of fats, red meats, sweets, sugared beverages, sodium, and focus on fruit and vegetables.
  • Sleep and Relaxation - Getting a good night’s sleep energizes you, improves your mood and your immune system. Practicing meditation and managing stress may also help to fend off age-related decline in brain health and keep illnesses at bay.
  • Social Interaction - Having an active social life can protect you against developing cognitive memory decline and keep diseases from developing too. Spending time with others whenever possible, engaging in stimulating conversation, and staying in touch and connected with family and friends are good for your brain health and your physical well-being.

SOURCES: American Heart Association; AARP; Cleveland Clinic

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