Have you ever sat down with your grandchild and watched them navigate a phone or a tablet? It’s pretty fascinating how fast they learn new devices and the fact that navigating technology seems like an innate ability they have. It seems that kids are advancing so fast these days and sometimes, it feels like we are regressing. While things are advancing much more quickly these days, we don’t have to feel like we’re regressing. There are several things that we can do to stay mentally sharp as we’re aging. Before we jump into them, let’s look at what aging well means.
What does it mean to age well?
So many of us hear about people who live to 100 and that’s no doubt a remarkable age to live to. What’s even more remarkable is having a great quality of life up to that age. Aging well is all based on the quality of life as we grow older and involves our mental, physical, and emotional well-being. To age well, it’s important to do things that enhance at least one of these areas and it’s great to do things that tackle all three.
Tips for Aging Well
- Stay moving. Physical activity boosts brain function and has been shown to increase the number of brain cells in the hippocampus. Make it a point to get 15 to 30 minutes of exercise at least three times a week to lessen the chance of developing Alzheimer’s.
- Use your hands. Activities that require eye-hand coordination can boost brain power. Try doing things like playing catch with a ball, making pottery, painting, and putting together a puzzle.
- Learn something new. There are several things you can learn to do that also involve your hands so it’s like a 2-for-1 deal. Try learning a new skill like playing an instrument or learning sign language.
- Change your routine. By changing our routines, we make our brains think. Even something as simple as trying a new driving route while running errands will help build new neural pathways and improves your brain function.
- Broaden your experiences. Broaden your experiences by trying new activities. Attend an art exhibit, research something that interests you, or pick up a new hobby. Find opportunities to discuss your experiences with family and friends.
- Exercise your memory. Have grandchildren? Play a memory game with them. You can also exercise your brain by memorizing a new word and its definition every day or memorizing poetry or song lyrics.
- Eat brain food. There are certain foods that improve brain health. Antioxidants are a big one. Foods like blueberries and dark chocolate contain antioxidants, which destroy the free radicals that cause age-related diseases. Foods high in antioxidants also can help lower cholesterol and blood pressure and may even delay or prevent diseases like cancer and Alzheimer’s.