Americans are living longer than ever, and with that longer lifespan come to some new challenges. But what tweaks in your daily routine can you start today to keep you mentally sharp as you get older?
1 Make some form of aerobic exercise part of your daily routine.
If there were a pill that does everything exercise does, everyone would have a prescription! The science is super clear that the best way to protect your brain from aging is through regular exercise. It could be something as simple as making after-dinner walks part of what you and your partner do, or doing your own yardwork every Saturday. The more active you become, the more benefit you will get. Getting active also decreases your risks of high blood pressure and diabetes. It also helps your mood and sleep.
2 Get enough sleep.
Sleep problems are more than an annoyance, they can lead to long-term health problems. Rest is how your body and mind recharge and repair. There’s a brief slideshow HERE going over the cost of not sleeping.
3 Manage any medical problems.
If you already have diabetes, high blood pressure or any other chronic condition, staying on top of those can make a huge difference in how your brain works as you get older. Work with your doctor and take the necessary steps to manage your conditions.
4 Be savvy about your medications.
Along with managing your overall health make sure that you know everything that you need to know about the medications you’re on. Read the side effects and talk to your doctor if they’re making you mentally foggy.
5 Stay connected with friends.
Your 40s and 50s tend to be hectic years, and we can lose touch with social relationships that make life rewarding. But more than just a loss of quality of life, people who have warm and supportive relationships tend to stay more mentally sharp and enjoy life more.
Staying in good health has always meant playing the long game. If you have ever been on a crash diet, that was playing the short game. Short, punctuated efforts create almost no long-term benefit. What really works are small changes compounded over time. Taking a longer view does require more patience, but it is well worth it.