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SENIOR SCENE: Keeping your brain sharp as you age

OPINION by Country Club Village | April 25, 2021 at 4:00 a.m.

The ability to learn and access memories declines as the body and brain ages, but a healthy lifestyle that stimulates both the body and brain has been proven to combat this deterioration. According to the National Institute on Aging, scientists are studying older adults' brains' adaptable ability to create new ways to recall and restore information. While the studies are in their preliminary stages, some information is already conclusive: keeping the brain sharp through cognitive exercises and a healthy lifestyle is key to preserving long-term brain health.

Here are the top ways to keep the brain healthy into old age:

  1. Eat a balanced diet. Talk to a nutritionist to find out what nutrients your body is deficient in and how to best replace them in your diet. Your brain requires vitamins, protein and antioxidants to create and repair cells. However, too much protein, fat or sugar in a daily diet has been linked to increased rates of Alzheimer's disease. Always get a doctor's or a nutritionist's guidance before changing your diet.

  2. Exercise frequently. The benefits of cardiovascular exercise, which speeds up your heart rate and increases your lung capacity, also pumps increased blood and oxygen through your system. This means that your brain is also getting an increased supply of oxygen and all the nutrients carried by the blood. The effect is not limited to just while you are exercising; as you become more active more frequently, your overall circulation will continue to improve.

  3. Lessen your stress. High levels of stress cause inflammation in the body, which can dramatically lengthen healing time and the brain's ability to process information. Getting a full night of sleep, taking time out of your day to relax or meditate, or simply doing any peaceful activity you enjoy will naturally help your body repair and heal itself.

  4. Tease Your Brain. Games, puzzles, new activities and even meeting new people all encourage your brain to strengthen or create new neural pathways. So listen to new music, take a painting class, or ask someone to put together a puzzle with you -- your brain will thank you.

Country Club Village Retirement Community has weekly activities that include physical exercise, brain games and socializing. If any members of the public would like to join the residents at Country Club Village at any of their events and outings, or to join them for a home-cooked meal, call a staff member today at 501-781-0793 or email [email protected] read more about what can be done to keep the brain healthy through aging, please visit the Sunshine Retirement Living Wellness Blog at http://www.sunshineretirementliving.com/5-tipsbrain-health-and-aging/.

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