As an old saying goes, as you age, the mind is the first thing to go. However, not many people realize that there is scientific reasoning behind this. Your brain carries out most of its development from birth through childhood, and continues to develop until your mid 20’s. After this point your mind will start to slowly deteriorate, which will slow down your thought processes, and the neurons upon which other functions depend start to degrade.
As you age the deterioration becomes worse. Your memory begins to slip away from you by the time you’re in your mid 30’s as you start to easily forget names and other details. In your 40’s and 50’s your reasoning skills begin to slow dramatically.
Interesting fact: By age 40 your mind starts to let go of bad memories, and hold on to the happier ones. As you age your risk of getting Alzheimer’s increases dramatically, rising to at least 50% by age 85. Although it seems to be a long way off, and it seems like there is no way to completely stop your mind from fading away. You can keep your brain active and healthy by following a few easy tips. Here are 5 of them that virtually anybody can apply to their life.
1. Brain Teasers, Word Games, and Puzzles
We probably started playing with forms of these as early as a few months old. Puzzles are proven to keep our mind active by making us think and organize possible outcomes. As we grew older those puzzles increasingly grew more difficult, as we needed to challenge our brains more. We would step up from simple puzzles and brain teasers, such as word finds, simple picture puzzles, and connect the dot pages, to more elevated ways of stimulating the brain such as Sudoku number puzzles, jigsaws containing 500 pieces or more, and crosswords. We participate in these activities because we find entertainment in challenging ourselves in one way or another. So next time you’re feeling bored and also want a challenge instead of picking up that copy of Halo, maybe open up a book of puzzles and brain teasers.
The mind and the body coexist in a codependent sort of relationship, in which one cannot exist without the other. This can go even farther as it is hard to keep a healthy mind with an unhealthy body, or a healthy body with an unhealthy mind. By spending as little as 30 minutes a day performing aerobic exercises you send blood towards your brain which prevents or slows down your brain cell loss.
Exercise is also proven to activate your brain in many other ways, such as waking you up so that you can have a better time with your planning as well as other thought processes.
3. Take a 20 minute nap in the afternoon
Sleep helps the make long-term memory function better as it makes your mind even more active. One way to use napping to help your long-term memory is to simply go to sleep after a class where you were told very important information. By doing this you will have a better time remembering what you were told and be able to utilize the information much more efficiently. This will help you to pass that upcoming final or midterm exam, or give you an easier time studying for the test.
4. Work with your hands, and create art
Art and music have been proven in many studies to help keep your mind active by making you work with your hands and mind at the same time. Workings on crafts actually have similar results as working on a Sudoku puzzle as they make you think and challenge you. There are many hobbies within this category one can take up, even if you don’t consider yourself the most artistic person there is something for everybody. Painting and drawing, or knitting, sewing, and crocheting. Arts and crafts help you to keep your brain active and healthy.
Learning to play an instrument also keeps the mind healthy as you learn how to read music sheets, which is almost like learning how to read another language, and develop your hand eye coordination. Music also teaches rhythm, which in turn helps you keep your mind in tune with timing.
5. Eat Wisely
Stay away from fattening, fried, and especially fast foods. Eating these actually cause the brain to deteriorate faster, and even make your body unhealthy and sluggish. Eating a healthy meal from home, assuming you plan it right can actually be cheaper and make you happier healthier, and of course put you in a better mind-set.
Although these are only a few of the ways you can keep your mind active and healthy, these have been the most popular among us. A few honorable mentions would be, drink your coffee, it will help you wake up in the morning. Be wise with your sugar intake, and finally don’t over stress or exert yourself. The mind goes through most of its growth from the moment you are born, to your early teens. It finishes growth and development by the age of 25, then starts to slowly deteriorate. The risk of developing Alzheimer’s increases with age and will reach an outstanding 50% by the age of 85. Your mind is a powerful thing and as we grow we begin to lose it. Keep it active, keep it healthy, and above all make sure you are able to perform at your highest standards.
Julie Ellis – leadership expert, business author and passionate traveler from Miami, FL. As a business writer, she’s been featured on such websites as Business2Community, SocialMediaToday, Business.com and others.
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