Senior Mental Exercises

The brain contains synaptic endings that join together to create new neural pathways. With each new experience, a new synaptic pathway is created. By the time we reach old age, we have more pathways than we can count. But, age leads to a shrinking of the brain and loss of some of these connections.

The loss of connections can lead to forgetfulness and other cognitive changes. Maybe you don’t have the sharpest reflexes any more. Maybe you used to be able to come up with a solution to a problem right away, whereas now it takes you a long time. Don’t worry. You can continue to be sharp as a tack with these suggestions.

How to Stay Sharp into Older Age

* Stop smoking – Smoking has been linked to the signs of dementia. While forgetfulness is to be expected as you age, serious cognitive problems are not. That includes dementia.

* Play games – These are not just any games. Try a game that challenges your mind. These can be word searches, word scrambles, picture puzzles, finish the pattern puzzles and others of this nature. A popular game today to play is Sudoku. Not only does it involve strategy but also math skills which many forget as they get older.

* Access your memory – This is also along the line for games. Try remembering nursery rhymes, limericks, playtime songs and others. Accessing deeper memories can improve your recall over time. How much wood does a woodchuck chuck?

* Take care of your health – The brain is affected by many different conditions. For instance, high blood pressure can damage blood vessels needed to carry oxygen to the brain. It can also loosen cholesterol plaques that can break off and cause a stroke. Decrease your weight, lower your blood pressure and take care of your heart to help your brain. Visit your doctor regularly to get ahead of any potential problems.

* Exercise – Exercise is good for a strong body and a clear mind. It increases the oxygenation of the brain cells which leads to clarity and focus. Exercise also lowers blood pressure and increases endurance, balance and fitness.

* Eat for a healthy brain – Feed the brain and it will remember. Increase intake of omega-3 fatty acids for cellular integrity and reduced inflammation. Eat more vegetables and fruits as well as whole grains. Reduce intake of processed foods and artificial preservatives.

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