A Guide to Brain Fitness – Our minds are what make us human. Our personality, consciousness, conscience, control, emotions, and logic are all dependent on our brains’ well-being. However, they also happen to be the organs we overlook the most. With increasing conversations around mental health, individuals are slowly realizing that they can not overlook brain fitness if they want to stay healthy. In this research-backed article, we’ll take you through some of the main ways you can ensure you take care of your brain health for a long time to come.
1. Keep the Brain Stimulated
Similar to needing exercise to keep the body fit, the brain needs its own workout sessions. These can improve your memory, cognitive abilities, focus, and concentration. In fact, studies clearly show that engaging in mentally stimulating activities even at later ages can decrease and delay cognitive decline.
Several practices can make your brain’s gears stay moving, be it playing games or solving math problems. You can take out an hour from your day to engage in Sudoku or chess or simply play a challenging video game. Similarly, activities like learning a new musical instrument or language or taking a good online course can all help your brain stay healthy for a long time.
Stimulation isn’t always about logic and challenges: art also plays a significant part. Leave your phone down and tell a story. Maybe design a map or plan a painting. Unleashing your creativity will let you channel your energy and keep your brain engaged.
2. Take Care of Your Heart
Superior as the brain is to the body, it can only run when supplied with enough blood to carry oxygen and nutrients. For that reason, you need to take care of your heart health, or you risk forming diseases like vascular dementia.
Prevention is better than cure, so you must adopt healthy practices from a young age. Taking care of your cardiovascular health entails controlling your blood pressure, exercising, eating healthy, and monitoring your glucose levels strictly if you have diabetes. Reduce your sugar intake and watch your weight too. Practices like smoking and drug intake will also ruin your heart’s health. The risk of brain damage is already high if you suffer from heart-related ailments. In that situation, follow your doctor’s guidelines carefully and avoid reckless behavior.
3. Incorporate the Right Diet
Like all other organs, the brain also responds well to certain nutrients. For example, omega-3 fatty acids from fish are linked to enhanced blood flow to the brain. Similarly, dark chocolates, berries, nuts, seeds, avocados, and peanuts are all backed up by research as good brain power boosters. So, sticking to a homemade Mediterranean diet can do wonders. However, we know that not everyone has the time or means to opt for one. If such is the case with you, you can try supplements.
The market has multiple brain supplement options chock-full of supposed brain health developers. But, this hefty list of ingredients often has elements not backed up by sufficient research and may harm your brain or bodily function instead. The best bet is to opt for nutritional supplements that are based around one or a few core components, like the mushroom-based Lion’s Mane gummies. Stay informed about what you’re ingesting.
4. Avoid Substances
Young smokers, vapers, alcohol abusers, and drug users do not realize that the biggest danger associated with such substances is their effect on the brain. Smoking can shrink your brain, cause dementia and cognitive decline, and increase the risk of strokes and brain cancer. Alcohol use can lead to a wet brain, causing confusion and coordination and balance, learning, and memory problems. Heroine, meth, cocaine, and similar commonly used drugs are similarly detrimental. Many of such substances also result in psychological complications, worsening their effect on the brain. Substances are something to avoid if you want to ensure a sound brain and body for a long time to come. If you’re already dealing with addiction, seek help as soon as possible.
5. Take Care of Your Mental Health
If you have been noticing symptoms of any mental or behavioral disorder in yourself, take out the time and visit a doctor. This is because not only will your condition worsen over time, but your brain itself will be at risk. Issues like depression and anxiety are often mitigated by society, which leads to people not getting treatment on time. However, leaving such matters untreated can cause brain damage and shrinkage.
Time does not fix such matters on its own; one has to take the necessary steps, including therapy and medication. If you aim to live healthy and happy, do not overlook the inner turmoil you’re facing. Seek a professional and follow their guidelines.
6. Modify Your Exercise Routine
No matter what’s the state of your health, body, and mind, you’ll find an exercise that caters to your unique needs. The brain similarly benefits from specific exercises.
Try aerobic exercises to boost the flow of blood to your brain, or you can opt for resistance exercises to promote cognition and delay cognitive decline. Yoga, with its flowing and often meditative movements, can similarly benefit the brain, and Tai Chi can enable you to multitask. These also strengthen the heart, and combining them with walking, swimming, and cycling further enhances the effect. By designing well-thought-out exercise routines, your mind and body will function optimally for a long time.
7. Alter Your Schedules
Switching your routine is perhaps the most straightforward task you can perform to make your brain flexible and agile. You just have to complete your daily tasks differently. Try brushing your teeth with your left hand instead of your right one, sleep on the other side of the bed, and work remotely from a park instead of the comfort of your home office. Such small actions force the brain out of its comfort zone and make it work to adapt itself to varying situations.
If you’ve ever had to care for an elderly individual struggling to remember events, you probably worry about your own old age. However, the brain and the body do not have to deteriorate to that extent with time. All you have to do is incorporate the right mindset, diet, exercise, and schedule, and you’ll be able to stay fit and retain control of yourself for a long time. Remember to opt for a proactive approach instead of waiting for troubles to arrive before you fix them.