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If you are young at heart and work hard to keep of the rest of you from aging, don't forget about your brain. Your body may be in top condition but if you don't bother to exercise your mind muscle, it can become as flabby as a stomach without sit-ups. Without consistent challenge and exercise, your brain is more likely to show signs of aging such as memory loss and a decline in overall brain function. Fortunately, healthy lifestyle choices that benefit the rest of your body can also help age-proof your brain. The following tips can help keep your memory sharp and perhaps even protect you from some of the effects of Alzheimer's disease.
The best way to exercise your brain is to exercise the rest of you. Regular exercise has long been recommended to keep your body healthy. Experts now believe exercise influences memory and general brain health as well. If you exercise for thirty minutes five days a week, you can help prevent the brain's hippocampus region from shrinking. The hippocampus is the area of the brain responsible for memory creation and keeping it healthy can help keep your brain young.
Stretch Your Mind
Learning new skills is a key way to keep your mind keen. When your brain is challenged, new brain cells and connections are made. Challenge yourself by learning a language, an instrument or a complex game. Your brain will be grateful when you demand that it conquer difficult tasks. If you already do the daily crossword puzzle or play brain games, like Scrabble, take on something new, such as an unfamiliar computer program.
Weight-bearing exercise is critical for keeping bones strong as we age. It turns out that lifting weights and other resistance training is also beneficial for your brain. Resistance exercises can promote growth in the brain that feeds nerve cells more effectively than other forms of exercise, such as stretching.
Make new friends and keep the old to help stimulate your brain. Keeping up connections and extending yourself to meet new people provides important work for your brain cells. Experts believe that the emotional and social elements of a rich social life may actually help prevent dementia.
Healthy diets that help prevent heart disease and cancer can also help your brain stay in tip-top shape. Diets that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B-12, and fruits and vegetables may decrease the risk of Alzheimer's and help you maintain a higher level of cognitive brain function. Add herbs and spices such as turmeric, pepper and oregano to your recipes for an extra boost of brainpower.
Relax and Breathe
Stress can send the hormone cortisol, also known as hydrocortisone, to your brain where it can interfere with everyday brain function and memory. Try to reduce tension in your life and you also will contribute to a healthier brain. Deep breathing exercises, meditation, mindfulness practice and yoga can all help to reduce stress.