It’s just a fact of life that every human being will age and get older. As you age, your body will seem different, and you will feel less capable of doing basic tasks that used to seem simple. But even as your body changes and grows older, many people feel the most distressed when the mind starts to slip. Declining memory is a common side effect of getting older, but there are ways to ensure that your mind stays healthy even as your body gets older and weaker. Follow some of these basic steps to ensure that you keep a sharp mind no matter how old you are.
1. Stay Active
Although you may have to temper your physical workouts as your body ages and changes, remember that physical activity also helps to keep your mind strong and healthy. Physical activity helps to keep bones stronger, helps to maintain a healthy level of balance, and keeps the body healthy enough to ward off many illnesses that can be life-threatening for older individuals. Exercise and physical activity can also help to combat the depression and anxiety that many individuals feel as they approach the later years. Regular physical activity can also help to improve memory, fight off dementia, and improve energy levels in bodies that feel more tired every day.
2. Regulate Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is associated with many illnesses and injuries that are also linked to dementia and memory loss. For example, high blood pressure can cause stroke, kidney failure, heart disease or a heart attack. Each of these affects the body and the brain in a way that can impair your mental and physical health. Keeping your blood pressure down can be as simple as doing a few of the following things.
- Don’t smoke
- Watch your weight
- Exercise regularly
- Avoid alcohol and caffeine
- Limit salt in the diet
- Eat healthy
With a few basic lifestyle changes, you not only improve your physical health, but also ensure that your mind is sharp as a tack and as fresh as when you were younger.
3. Eat Your Vegetables
A healthy diet is an obvious part of keeping your mind and your body healthy, but you may be unaware of some of the more extreme positive effects on your body that eating vegetables can have. Below are some specific examples of vitamins and minerals that will help to make your body and mind stronger.
- Folate is found in green vegetables and is necessary to keep the cells healthy.
- Vitamins E and C are antioxidants and keep your cells safe from damage that may result in certain types of cancer and heart disease.
These are just two examples of ways that vegetables and fruits can help to keep your mind and body healthy. A balanced diet of fruit and vegetables every day can keep your mind sharp and your body running how it should. Many illnesses can be avoided with a diet that is balanced and healthy.
4. Drink In Moderation
If you don’t drink alcohol, your later years are definitely not the time to start. If you do drink, make sure that you do so in moderation. Alcohol is hard on the body, and is especially hard on bodies that are older and struggling to stay healthy. Alcohol can also affect memory and the ability to think clearly, which can all lead to a fuzzy mind. Alcohol has also been linked to depression and anxiety, two things that are commonly dealt with as an individual ages.
5. Stop Smoking
If you are a smoker, you are likely well aware of the negative ways that cigarettes can affect your body. If you are still smoking in your later years, now is definitely the time to give it up in order to preserve and enhance the time you have left. You will live longer and feel better when you give up smoking. You will also enjoy the time you have left, as your body will feel better and your mind will feel clearer.
Aging is just a fact of life, and something that nobody can avoid. But it doesn’t have to be traumatic and sad. If you are prepared to age, and are comfortable with where you live is at, you can find peace in the process. By taking good care of your body and your mind, you will enjoy the last years of your life and make sure that your physical and mental health is prolonged as long as possible.
Lauren Hill enjoys writing on the topic of aging. No matter how hard we try, most of us will find ourselves caring for elderly parents or being cared for. Lift Caregiving is a free service to support all caregivers. Go here to see how they might be able to help you at this stage in your life.