The body in which we are born carries us through life and it is our job to take care of it as well as possible. Starting positions are different – we get different abilities with genes, but we have a lot in our own hands.
Quality of life is determined by everyday choices that turn into habits for decades. It is nice to live long, as well as travel, hobbies and loved ones enrich life in old age. Is that how we imagine? For old age to be enjoyable, health should be strong and the mind sharp. Whether you’re in your 20s or 80s, you can start making better decisions every day to improve your quality of life.
There is a lot of talk about training the body, but training for the brain is at least as important. Indeed, research has confirmed that people who engage in activities that require harder thinking do not age as fast as people who do not actively engage with their brains. You can make mind training interesting for you by finding the right challenge for you. Here are some ideas.
Board games. Chess, puzzles, word games offer effective brain training. If at the moment it is not possible to gather the company necessary for games, there are plenty of opportunities on the Internet as well. To keep your new hobby just for fun, choose games that also require memory or thinking instead of simple games of chance.
Books. Read books on some topics you have long wanted to know more about, such as gardening, astronomy, birds, and try to apply the knowledge in real life by noticing what you have learned around you. You can also read a novel you like and try to tell it to someone in as much detail as possible. Reading books trains memory, adds factual knowledge and improves storytelling skills.
Thinking exercises for the brain. Thinking exercises, either in your head or speaking out loud, help your brain stay in good shape, especially if you do them regularly. For example, try to name 12 months in alphabetical order, or take a more complex word and say it backwards. When walking outside, notice the car numbers and try to add or subtract them from your head. When you come up with exercises for yourself or a parent close to you, you can be creative and turn it into a fun competition or game.
Learn a new language. Although learning a new language is more difficult in old age than in young age, your brain will be grateful to you for it, as your cognitive ability will improve. It is possible to study in groups as well as through books or the Internet. Learning a few new words a day is also helpful. Finding a good companion to learn with will increase your motivation and help you stay social, which is also important in keeping your brain fresh.
Arts and crafts. In addition to dexterity, creative activities also stimulate the imagination, which also begins to fade with age. There are many possible activities, from drawing and pottery to knitting and embroidery. Don’t stay in the comfort zone, just do what you’re already good at, just try new activities that will test you.
Nutrition and exercise. You cannot get over or around maintaining and developing physical health. Daily exercise is good for your body, but it also has a direct positive effect on the health of your brain, no matter what age you are. If you can’t do a hard workout, you can also use a brisk walk, which raises your pulse a bit. The diet is largely individual, but there are some foods that are good for your brain. Researchers have found that high consumption of vegetables helps to inhibit cognitive loss. Leafy fruits such as spinach, kale and broccoli are particularly useful. Blueberries help boost memory and are also good for the heart and blood pressure. Healthy fats such as nuts, fish, olive oil are very important for brain activity. If you have harmful habits, such as smoking or drinking, now is the time to quit!
Uni. Probably everyone has felt that after sleeping at night the thought works more slowly. Studies show that poorer sleep quality in old age is a major reason why our long-term memory is weakened. In part, this is inevitable, but you can also contribute to a better sleep. Create a blackout bedroom, consume melatonin and give up smart devices at bedtime. A sleep rhythm with a certain routine also comes in handy.
Inevitably, many brain processes slow down as we age, especially if we do not keep our minds active enough. Don’t let your mind become lazy, take care of your body and mind both in youth and old age. Success is based on discipline and regularity, and the effort is definitely worth it. Instead of taking the development of your brain as a tedious commitment, think of it as an interesting challenge and an opportunity to improve your quality of life. Life is exciting when you take on exciting new things, be it a craft circle or learning a new language.