By Dr. Chris Votolato, Director of Behavioral Health, Shell Point Retirement Community
Exercising your brain should be a daily habit. And fortunately, a little mind maneuvering can be a simple as keeping in contact with friends or working on a crossword puzzle. Challenge your brain on a daily basis with this seven-day guide, designed to help keep your memory connections limber and your synapses crackling.
- Day 1. Fit enough physical activity in your day – and schedule it! In a fascinating twist on studies proving exercise to be beneficial, research has also suggested that using an appointment book or PDA to record your plans helps your brain make long-term connections.
- Day 2. Spend time with friends and family. Being with friends keeps your heart happy, and a happy heart keeps your mind in good health! Grab a friend and a copy of the Happenings, and go have fun.
- Day 3. Volunteer within the community, or take an Academy class on a subject that matters to you. According to the U.S. Administration on Aging, volunteering keeps the brain active and helps preserve memory.
- Day 4. Find thinking games that you enjoy, such as Sudoku, crossword puzzles, word jumbles, or chess. Studies have proven that people who play thought-provoking games are less likely to experience mental decline.
- Day 5. Take an honest look at your health habits and identify areas that bear improving. A recent CDC study pointed out that high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, diabetes, and physical inactivity are all linked to a decline in mental function.
- Day 6. Stock up on vegetables for the upcoming week. Leafy greens and fresh, colorful vegetables help maintain a healthy brain. Quick recall and a good vocabulary go hand-in-hand with eating right.
- Day 7. Talk to your doctor. If you have concerns about cognitive decline, don’t hesitate to consult with a professional. Taking action sooner rather than later can make a big difference when it comes to treating issues related to mental wellness.