Want to keep your brain sharp? Keep it active. Studies show that challenging your brain several times a week can help prevent memory problems and improve brain function. Also key are diet, exercise, sleep and staying social.
Make it a game. Crossword puzzles, word games, bridge — anything that involves a strategy or problem solving is great mental exercise.
Keep learning. Study the piano, try a new recipe, learn a foreign language — the more pleasurable an activity, the more powerful its effect on your brain.
Eat smart. Choose fruits, leafy vegetables, fish and nuts rich in omega-3 fats. Brain “superfoods” include blueberries, walnuts and avocados. Plus, don’t forget to drink water.
Walk. According to the American Academy of Neurology, walking six to nine miles every week can prevent brain shrinkage and memory loss.
Nap often. Research has shown that taking an hour nap dramatically boosts and restores brainpower, making it easier to learn and retain new information.
Socialize. Having friends with which to share memories and fun activities is important. Choosing the socially rich lifestyle of a continuing care retirement community (CCRC) offers companionship and the added benefits that come from a focus on wellness, nutrition, and peace of mind.
Information provided by Rod Copple, executive director Green Hills Retirement Community, 2200 Hamilton Drive, Ames, (515) 296-5000, www.greenhillsrc.com.