“Memory is just a tiny part of brain functioning, and there’s a lot you can do to protect your brain health.” ~ Dr. Barry Gordon, M.D., Ph.D.
According to a recent article by India Today, there are 197 million Indians who are currently suffering from some sort of brain issue or mental disorder. Poor brain health due to numerous day-to-day factors has become a significant concern, thus, it becomes crucial to take proper care of your brain. Research suggests that you’ll improve your mental sharpness and help your brain stay healthy, whether you are 30 or 70 if you manage to do certain brain exercises regularly!
Even at the age of 80 guess what my grandfather regularly does to keep sharp? Play Sudoku. And literally, challenge everyone in the family to do so each morning! It may come as a surprise but a small activity play like Sudoku can do wonders for your brain health. So, let’s deep dive into 10 whole-body approaches that can lead to brain-boosting benefits and keep you away from the brain/mental disorders.
1. Puzzles Anyone?
Any mentally stimulating activity should help to build up your brain. Take up a new hobby that involves fine motor skills, like knitting, drawing, painting, or assembling a puzzle, do math in your head without paper, learn something new. These activities challenge your brain and improve cognitive functioning, memory, and mental health thereby hindering the development of certain chronic neurological conditions (such as dementia, depression, and stroke).
2. ‘Cross Fit’ May Lead To Being Brain Fit
It’s no surprise that the more you help your body, the more you help your mind. Physical activity increases the flow of oxygen to your brain and promotes cardiovascular health by protecting the brain tissue. Individuals with clinical depression or schizophrenia often show improvements in their health due to simple physical exercises such as walking or running.
A couple of months ago a friend of mine was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder and to overcome this the doctor recommended (other than medication) a ten-minute pedaling exercise on a stationary bike as it increases activity within the brain’s hippocampus, which creates new memories and helps your mind to work through the anxiety. She was told to take up walking regularly as this physical activity releases feel-good endorphins that serve as natural painkillers and can help boost your energy levels. These simple activities did give a start towards overcoming anxiety (may not be the ultimate solution or cure).
Cognitive boost – thumbs up!
Playing games can lead to various cognitive benefits, like improved reaction time, mental flexibility, improved spatial memory, and improved attention capacity. You can always learn a new sport that involves both mind and body, such as yoga, golf, football, or tennis. Mind games like word puzzles, Sudoku, quizzes help exercising the mind and even acts as a great stress-buster.
Creative booster – ad on!
4. Food – For Thought
Approaches to brain health include a well-balanced diet that’s low in fat, low in cholesterol, and high in antioxidants. It’s good to include foods rich in magnesium in your daily diet for building good learning and memory capabilities. Low magnesium levels can often lead to various neurological diseases. Emphasize fruits, vegetables, fish, nuts, unsaturated oils (olive oil) and plant sources of proteins makes you less likely to develop cognitive impairment and dementia. And don’t forget to boost your brain and concentration – challenge your taste buds while eating and spot individual ingredients in your meal including all subtle herbs and spices – could be a fun game!
5. Stay Socially Engaged; Not Just On Social Media!
Associating with individuals through social activities and community programs can keep your brain active and help you feel less isolated and more engaged with the world around you. A rich social network provides support, reduces stress levels, helps you combats depression, and enhances your intellectual stimulation. Studies have shown that individuals who are socially active experience the slowest rate of memory decline. Therefore, joining a social group or activity classes like clubs, volunteering, cooking or hobby classes might make you feel good. Share a moment with others, open your mind to different possibilities, talk share and stay connected!
6. A Good Night’s Sleep Is Good For Our Brain
Getting at least 7 hours of sleep at night?
As you sleep, your brain works hard to form new pathways and get ready for the next day. A good night’s sleep can improve learning and help you perform better at work or school, improving attention, judgment, and creativity. When you don’t get enough sleep, the brain is tired and this disrupts your thinking process, memory as well as concentration. Ongoing sleep deprivation has been associated with an increased risk of many diseases including kidney disease, heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, and stroke. So, sleep well!
7. Stress – Buster
Stress is like chocolate – a little won’t affect you but addiction to it or increasing the intake of it will do no good to your brain and health. Stress can sometimes be a possible motivator for you to get out of bed early in the morning but chronic or severe stress may impact your functioning, mood and even lead to serious heart conditions. Therefore, managing stress might be the key to keeping your brain healthy. To cope up with high-stress levels you can try listening to your favorite music, spend time in the lap of nature or you can do activities that boost and relax your mind like join a yoga class, meditation, or a good cup of tea. Research shows that daily meditation encourages cell growth within the hippocampus and ought to suspend dementia. Give it a try!
8. Just Relax
From time to time, all of us need to recharge our batteries. Self-care is the key to physical and mental health. Learning ways to counter stress and calm your body helps your brain work better, boosts your mood, reduces blood pressure, and more. So, just chill!!! Take a break, go for a vacation, indulge in activities of your choice and help your brain relax.
9. Take Care Of Your Medical Issues
Health comes first – always! Conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, and hypertension are all known to extend the risk for developing neurodegenerative diseases by impeding blood flow to the brain. With certain lifestyle modifications and medication, you may end up reducing or controlling the risk factor of these health conditions but practicing natural ways to combat these lies in your hands!
10. Protect your heart
There is a significant link between heart and brain health. For example, we know that high cholesterol can act as a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease, hypertension can block small arteries within the brain; potentially causing damage in the areas that are most susceptible to causing Alzheimer’s disease. In another Swedish study; more than 30,000 women found that those who ate a healthy diet, exercise regularly, didn’t smoke, controlled blood sugar, and kept their body mass index below 25 had a far lower risk of stroke than women who didn’t meet any of these five goals. So, protect your heart for your brain!
Any of the above mental stimulating activity and lifestyle modifications that require manual dexterity as well as mental effort will positively influence your mind and help to build your brain. Make ‘brain training’ a daily habit.
If you would like to know more, don’t forget to drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us about your brain health improvements