Brain is an organ that controls your nervous, intellectual and sensational activities. As you age it is normal for brain also to show signs of aging. The first sign of an aging brain is forgetfulness. You tend to get stuck in the middle of doing something or you start forgetting names of acquaintances or telephone numbers or you miss out a dose of your routine medicine etc.
This is normal among aging people, but the more serious condition like dementia or Alzheimer can follow if you do not maintain brain fitness. Mental fitness is as important as physical fitness. Healthy body and healthy mind go hand in hand. There are various ways of maintaining brain fitness in old age and the sooner you start the better it is.
Regular exercise is important for brain fitness in old age. Exercise stimulates blood circulation and it regulates the flow of oxygen in the brain cells.
Take up any kind of aerobic activity like walking, jogging, cycling, swimming or tread mill walking that suits your age and lifestyle. 35-40 minutes of daily exercise, five times a week help to prevent degeneration process of brain cells. Add variety in your exercises to challenge your brain and to keep it active and alert.
Meditation is a way of massaging your brain. It relaxes the nerves and calms the mind. Regular meditation improves concentration and focus, it helps you to control negative thoughts and it teaches you how to rein your thoughts. Meditating in different states of mind and reliving your best times in memory while in meditation is a great way of engaging your mind in interesting thoughts. 5-10 minutes of daily meditation helps to maintain brain fitness in old age.
Playing mind challenging games is a wonderful way of maintaining mental health. Mental cross training is very important to prevent slackness of nerves.
You can do cross word puzzles, play Sudoku, scrabble, boggle and other board games like chess or strategy planning games to ruffle your grey cells. These games help to improve your memory and speed. They also improve your word skills while adding fun in your old age.
Cultivate a creative and fruitful hobby for brain fitness in old age. Hobbies relieve tension and help you to be with yourself for some time. Gardening, reading, cooking and making art and craft projects are the kind of hobbies that keeps you mentally agile.
You can add a lot of variety in these hobbies as they are creative fields and need considerable planning, technique and creativity. Start writing for journals or magazines if that excites you to keep your brain fit. Learn a new language to challenge your brain in an entirely new way.
Any habit that becomes a routine should be broken and changed for the better. Monotony makes mind dull as your mind gets accustomed to performing that particular task. This causes your brain to slack. For example, when going for a walk do not follow the same route every day, change the route to challenge your mind.
This way your curiosity is aroused and the brain starts functioning actively to get familiar with the new way. Similarly, while performing your daily activities you can add interesting changes in the way you keep your things so that your mind gets a jolt the next time you are finding something.
Isolation is the biggest cause for mental illness. You should socialise in old age to keep your brain fit and agile. Join a club and spend time with friends. Engage yourself in fruitful discussions. Relate your experiences to others to sharpen your memory.
Connect with an NGO to work for less privileged people. Working for social cause gives you new ideas and thoughts. It is both constructive for society in general and a good way of maintaining your brain fitness in particular.
Eating for a healthy mind is as important as eating for a healthy body. There are certain foods that are essential for brain fitness in old age and at every age. Almonds, walnuts, flaxseeds, amla, Brahmi and fish are healthy foods for brain.
Eat more of green leafy vegetables, whole grains and low fat dairy products for brain fitness in old age. Eliminate transfats from your diet and opt for healthy fats which contain omega 3 fatty acids. Quit smoking and alcohol consumption as they are extremely harmful for the brain.