Just like your knee that acts up after years of running or your eyes that squint to read tiny type, your brain changes with age. Several processes contribute to brain aging, and it’s thought that tissues oxidize or ‘rust’ with age. Cholesterol also gradually accumulates in the brain’s blood vessels, damaging brain tissue and causing strokes. Individuals who are developing Alzheimer’s disease may experience the accumulation of certain proteins in brain tissue as early as their 20s or 30s.
There’s no way to guarantee the retention of mental acuity in old age, but you can take some simple steps to give your mind a good chance to stay sharp. These include keeping your weight within recommended guidelines, avoiding tobacco and excess alcohol, staying connected with family and friends, and regular exercise for both your body and mind.
Since your brain is a muscle that needs to be exercised, engaging in mental activities like playing a musical instrument or learning a new skill can be good for your brain health. Exercise your gray matter by working Sudoku or crossword puzzles, or try these simple tips to strengthen your brain:
- Challenge your recall by making a list and memorizing it.
- Create a map from memory.
- Learn something new, whether it’s a sport, language, musical instrument, or hobby like painting, sculpting or cooking.
- Solve math problems in your head.
- Play a board game in person or online! Choose a game that requires skill and mental focus, like chess, bridge or memory games.
CHI Memorial Center for Health Aging specializes in geriatric medicine providing quality health care that helps you remain healthy and active. Medical care and medication management can become more complex as we age. In addition to providing primary healthcare for those age 55 and older, CHI Memorial Center for Healthy Aging focuses on managing and treating complex age-related conditions including memory loss, fall and balance issues and dementia related behavioral problems. To schedule an appointment, call (423) 682-8150.