Successful Aging Tip of the Month: Challenge Your Brain

Brain fitness impacts all aspects of our life and is often neglected once we cease working. We now realize that the brain is NOT fully formed and mature once we reach adulthood, gradually becoming depleted as we age.

Exciting and optimistic research tells us we are the architects of our brain, with the ability to REWIRE OUR OWN BRAIN in response to learning and experience.

We must continue to try new activities and learn new skills throughout our entire life, not ceasing once we “reach a certain age.”

The notion of a static, declining-only aging brain is false. Challenging our brain allows us to compensate for injury and disease and adjust our activities in response to new situations or environmental changes.

Brains can heal and grow in ability, no matter what age.  The road to excellent brain health is pretty much the road to overall health, and that road is a healthy lifestyle that pays attention to our physical, spiritual, and social health as well as the intellectual.

As a Masterpiece Living community, Salemtowne offers lifestyle enhancements for our residents that promote successful aging through onPointe – wellness for life. To dig a little deeper on how to challenge your brain, you might try the following suggestions:

Masterpiece Living Pearls for Challenging Your Brain

1. Take a walk, ride a bike or go for a swim.  Do anything that gets you moving again.  Start small keep building on your successes.

2. When you get back from your walk – learn something new.  Be a beginner.  What would you attempt if you knew you couldn’t fail?  What have you always wanted to learn?  Forget about failing.  Not trying new things is failure.

3. Realize that stress basically rots your brain.  Chronic stress is now accepted as part of living in our modern world. Find what gives you joy – painting, nature, music, meditation, children – seek out those things that quiet your chattering, stress-mongering mind. Connect with others, whether human or animal, and experience the depth and joy of being.  Also get the exercise and sleep you need to mend and grow.  Your brain will flourish.  You will flourish.

4. All you need is love…and the right food.  Our brains are only as good as the we fuel we provide them.  High-fat diets not only put us at a risk for heart disease, stroke, obesity, diabetes, and cancer, they also promote Alzheimer’s disease.  Brains function better on a diet of vegetables, fruits, fish, and whole grains.  Go fresh.  Go local.  If your great-grandmother never ate it, more than likely you shouldn’t either.

5. Let your brain play.  Focus on a task that makes time “fly by” and makes you feel less stressed.  A wide variety of “brain games” are flooding the market today.  Look for those that have you learn something new and continue to challenge you with new tasks or facts.

In the end, we want to treat our brains like a work of art, and we are the artist.

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