With all the focus on physical health, ways to keep the mind sharp can be overshadowed. And while the two often go hand-in-hand, there are many things you can incorporate into your daily life to help ensure that your mind stays sharp. Studies have shown all of the following may be key factors for maintaining a sharp mind:
Never stop learning
Keeping your mind stimulated with new challenges, adventures and activities is a great way to help keep it sharp. Learn a new language, travel, join a club, take a class or try a new hobby. Or, as recent research suggests, introduce even a small variation in your daily routine, for example, reading a section of the newspaper you normally skip over, or taking an alternate route when walking or driving. The novelty appears to keep the brain active in making new connections. If you like crossword puzzles, try branching out to Sudoku or a picture puzzle. You can even share or print out our brain games and play against a friend. Or, if you play a musical instrument, be open to learning how to play a second instrument. If you’re right handed, you can try doing simple tasks with your left hand or vice versa, as well.
That’s right, physical exercise isn’t just good for your body, it’s good for your mind! The CDC recommends that those 65 and up, who are generally fit with no limiting health conditions (consult your doctor), follow the Center’s guidelines for weekly aerobic and strength-training regimes. Low impact and enjoyable exercise can include activities like bike riding, walking, dancing, swimming and yoga.
Reduce harmful stress hormones by finding ways to relax. Taking up yoga or meditation may help you manage stress (and try something new in the process!). Try these “10 Ways to Relax & Unwind” or treat yourself to an at-home spa day every week, too.
Find your purpose
Finding your mission or passion in life can help you keep your mind sharp too! Maybe it’s your job, your volunteer work or your hobby; whatever it is, find something you are passionate about, and don’t be shy about giving it your time and effort.
Take care of your health
Stay on top of your physical health not only by eating healthy and exercising, but by getting preventative screenings and checkups. Physical health and mental health are closely related, and many chronic diseases and conditions can negatively impact mental clarity.
Cultivate friendships and socialize
It should be no surprise that having friends and spending quality time with them is good for mental and physical health. Cultivate the friendships you already have, and maybe even try meeting some new friends to add to the pack. The more, the merrier!
As you can see, keeping your mind sharp can be a lot of fun and lead to a happier, healthier, more adventurous you in the process!