Do This Every Day If You Want to Avoid Cognitive Decline as You Age

Do This Every Day If You Want to Avoid Cognitive Decline as You Age

Healthy nutrition, 7-9 hours of restful sleep nightly, and managing chronic conditions like hypertension and diabetes help keep your brain healthy. One more simple yet powerful habit to develop if you care about cognition is exercising your brain daily.

Neurologist Dr. Andrew Lerman and his team at Gables Neurology in Miami, Florida, focus their medical expertise on neurological conditions that affect the adult population, including cognitive decline associated with aging and dementia

Read what the Gables Neurology team says about the importance of engaging in cognitive activities daily and how to incorporate them into your routine.

Understanding cognitive decline

It’s natural for certain cognitive functions to slow as we age. This may manifest as forgetfulness, difficulty concentrating, or slower processing speed.

However, while some degree of cognitive decline is a normal part of aging, severe impairment can significantly impact your quality of life. The good news is that significant cognitive decline isn’t inevitable.

By leading a brain-healthy lifestyle and actively stimulating your mind, you can potentially mitigate the effects of aging on your cognitive abilities. Just as physical exercise strengthens your muscles, daily mental workouts can help keep your brain agile.

Engaging in activities that challenge your cognitive skills stimulates the formation of new neural connections, improves brain function, and may even promote neuroplasticity — your brain's ability to reorganize and adapt to new challenges.

Tips for exercising your brain

Here are some examples of daily exercises that can benefit your brain’s thinking and reasoning power:

Puzzles and games

Activities like crossword puzzles, Sudoku, chess, or brain-training apps can provide a fun and effective way to exercise your brain. These games challenge your memory, problem-solving abilities, and strategic thinking.

Learning something new

Whether picking up a musical instrument, learning a new language, or taking up a hobby like painting or gardening, learning new skills stimulates your brain activity and promotes cognitive reserve — your brain's ability to withstand damage.

Physical exercise

Regular physical activity benefits your body and your brain. Aerobic exercise, in particular, has been shown to improve cognitive function, enhance mood, and reduce your risk of cognitive decline.

Social engagement

Meaningful social interactions stimulate brain activity and may help ward off cognitive decline. Stay connected with friends and family, join clubs or groups with shared interests, and participate in community events.

Incorporating daily brain exercises into your routine

Try these suggestions for fitting brain exercises into your daily routine:

Put it on the calendar

Schedule time each day for brain exercises just as you would for physical activity. It could be in the morning before work, during your lunch break, or in the evening before bed. Better yet, break it up by solving the morning crossword puzzle, walking with friends before lunch, and trying a new computer program in the afternoon.

Mix it up

Prevent boredom and keep your brain engaged by varying your activities — alternate between puzzles, learning new skills, and social activities to provide a well-rounded cognitive workout.

Make it enjoyable

Choose activities you find enjoyable and engaging. If you're having fun, you'll likely stick with it long-term.

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