Develop Mental Agility and Lower Your Risk of Age-Related Mental Decline – Advice from the Doctors at South Tampa Immediate Care

develop-mental-agilityYou are probably aware of some of the steps you can take to protect your physical health, such as exercising, eating well, and getting enough sleep. However, to achieve overall well-being, you can’t ignore your mental health. The good news is that by adopting certain beneficial habits, you can improve the function of your brain as well as your body.

While some research studies have found a link between genetics and Alzheimer’s disease, the exact cause is believed to be a combination of genetic predisposition and other lifestyle and environmental factors. Therefore, by practicing good brain health habits, you can help boost your memory and mental agility and possibly reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.

For example, regardless of your age, you can build up your cognitive reserve, which determines your brain’s resilience and ability to protect itself against damage. To do so, incorporate into your routine the following six key practices:

  • Stress management – Chronic stress has been shown to accelerate the progression of dementias. Healthy behaviors, such as avoiding alcohol, getting enough sleep, following a well-balanced diet, and exercising every day can go a long way toward reducing your stress level.
  • Physical activity – Cognitive function can improve with as little as 30 minutes of exercise each day – even in adults over the age of 80. That’s because physical activity can spark the creation of entirely new brain cells. This is one more important reason to try to incorporate some physical activity, such as a lunchtime walk, evening bike ride, or exercise class, into your day.
  • Continual learning – Lifelong learning can stimulate your brain. Try to stay mentally engaged by taking classes, reading, working crossword puzzles, or playing online memory games.
  • Social engagement – Social interaction can stimulate both your body and your mind. Seek out opportunities to socialize through working, volunteering, traveling, or participating in clubs or other group activities.
  • Good nutrition – Some foods are not only bad for your body – they’re bad for your brain. Avoid those that are high in saturated fat and cholesterol, and instead choose a diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables. Also, it’s always best to maintain a healthy body weight.
  • Heart health – When your heart is healthy, it can pump an adequate flow of blood, which carries the oxygen and nutrients your brain needs to function. In addition, research has shown that conditions like high cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and diabetes can increase the risk of dementias.

Simply put, it’s never too late. No matter what your age, you can improve your brain health and overall well-being by making positive changes in your behavior, environment, and learning activities.

For more advice on how to keep yourself and your family healthy, both mentally and physically, be sure to review our online series of health articles. If you have questions, please contact or visit the South Tampa Immediate Care walk-in clinic.