Today, I want to welcome Kevin Akidi for our guest post!
Imagine growing old and still having full use of your faculties. Then imagine getting wiser with age, filled with all the knowledge and experiences acquired over the years. And, imagine still being able to remember all the important events in your life and the people you love and still being able to make informed decisions.
We would all love that, however, it is not always the case. As we grow older, the brain starts to degenerate as well. We start having difficulty in recalling some things and in the worst-case scenario, dementia sets in.
The good news is, there are things we can start doing today to strengthen our brain so that we do not suffer these memory lapses as we age. We can grow and strengthen our brain so that it stays healthier and younger for longer.
Interesting ways to keep your brain young and healthy
There are several tried and tested ways to keep the brain strong, healthy and young.
- Physical exercise
I know, I don’t love it either but physical exercise increases blood flow and oxygen to the brain to help it function properly. Doing at least 30 minutes of exercise every day is recommended. Of course, in this case, more is better. Find exercises that work best for you and switch it up whenever you can.
- Mental exercise
Doing activities that challenge the brain helps it grow. Try doing mathematical calculations, puzzles, games that require mental skills like chess and scrabble. Today there are many online games specifically designed to improve your brain. My personal favorites are on Lumosity and Mindgames. Both have free versions and mobile apps which means you can train your brain anywhere and anytime.
Did you know that the brain does not sleep? It is during our sleep that the brain takes time to sort through all the information it picked up during the day and stores it properly. While we are asleep, the brain is hard at work so that when we wake up, it is ready to take on the new adventures of the day.
So, what happens if you don’t get enough sleep? You have probably experienced it already. Your mind doesn’t feel right, it is slow to pick up information, you feel tired and groggy. So yes, you don’t just need your beauty sleep to have good skin but to be smarter as well. An adult needs between 7-9 hours of sleep every night for their brain to function at full capacity.
Every time you learn something new, there are new connections made in your brain, more cells activated. You can learn by reading, learning a new language, skill, sport, activity, etc. There is always something new you can learn, take advantage.
The practice of meditation has existed for thousands of years and for a good reason. Its benefits are numerous and one of them is brain health. Have you ever wondered why people who meditate seem more grounded, calm and self-aware? Well, it is true that meditation reduces the weight of the area of the brain responsible for anxiety and worrying. Meditation helps relieve stress but also reduces your susceptibility to stress.
Stress causes so many health complications and one of them is mental illness. Today anxiety and depression are so common even among teenagers. Deal with whatever stress comes your way at the earliest opportunity. The longer you are stressed, the harder it is to get rid of it. Seek the help of others when you need it.
Protect against head injuries
Protect your head when doing activities that can result in head injuries like riding, rock climbing, and horse-riding. Head injuries however small can cause brain damage; have them checked out.
A healthy diet is not only good for your physical health but for mental health as well. Leafy greens, colorful fruits, and vegetables, as well as healthy fats, are recommended. The most common brain foods include blueberries, avocadoes, walnuts, salmon, eggs and dark chocolate.
Stay hydrated; water is essential for brain health. When you are dehydrated, the brain shrinks in size as well. There are several supplements you can add to your diet; just be sure to consult with your doctor first.
Avoid Smoking and Alcohol
There is a reason why these products are expected by law to display a warning on their packaging. They are poison not just to your physical health but to your mental health as well.
Activate Your Non-Dominant side
Becoming ambidextrous helps to activate certain parts of the brain that would otherwise stay dormant. Jim Kwik, Hollywood’s go-to brain coach and CEO of Kwik Learning recommends this trick. He uses his left hand to brush his teeth and to perform simple tasks.
Have a support system
Having good relationships and a support system is important for your brain health. Build a network of supportive and loving people around you because they keep you happy, grounded, young and healthy.
When we feel sick, we seek professional help and the same should apply to brain health. There is some stigma attached to seeking mental health support. However, this should not be the case. Just like any other body part, the brain gets sick and it needs the right kind of care to get better. Don’t wait until you have a mental breakdown to seek help.
Thank you, Kevin Akidi, for this amazing blog on caring for our brains to keep them young and healthy! You can connect with Kevin through the links below.
Written by: Kevin Akidi
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