How to keep your brain healthy and sharp as you age
11/07/2023 // Olivia Cook // Views

Memory lapses, colloquially referred to as occasional "senior moments," can occur at any age. Evidence shows that aging alone is generally not a cause of cognitive decline.

Here are some science-proven ways to keep your brain healthy and sharp, and preserve your mental abilities as you get older.

Incorporate simple brain exercises into your daily life

Playing jigsaw puzzles can challenge multiple cognitive abilities. They require analytical thinking because you have to figure out how all the pieces fit together. They develop your cognitive flexibility as you switch attention between different puzzle pieces and between colors, images, shapes and different strategies.

They require concentration and patience, which can help improve focus and attention span. They help improve hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills (constructional praxis).

Check out Healthline's picks of games and puzzles to exercise your brain.

Use all your senses. A study published in the journal Frontiers in Neuroscience suggested that the more you use your sense of hearing, sight, smell, taste and touch, the more you're stimulating various parts of your brain at the same time. Try to bake and cook more at home or visit a farmer's market.

Make physical exercise a daily habit

Neuroscientist Dr. Ebony Glover said physical exercise generates neurotrophins within your central and peripheral nervous system. They are proteins critical for the development of new brain cells (neurogenesis) and the protection of new neurons and glial cells necessary for proper brain function.

Exercise can increase neuroprotection as well as the volume of brain structures, leading to overall improved cognition and health. (Related: Exercise preserves brain cells and prevents memory loss. )

Studies also show that dancing is good for the brain. It helps reduce stress, increases levels of the feel-good hormone serotonin and helps develop new neural connections, especially in regions of the brain involved in executive function, long-term memory and spatial recognition.

Eat smart

Experts say that what you eat can make a big difference in how well you think and remember things. A study published in the Journal of Clinical and Translational Research reported the effects of 21 nutrients and phytonutrients on cognitive function.

Significant effects on cognition include arousal, attention, comprehension, creative thinking, decrease in mental fatigue, memory recollection, mental flexibility, etc.

Check out Healthline's best foods to boost your brain and memory.

Learn to relax

Learn tai chi. Researchers in a recent study published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine found that a modern twist added to tai chi, dubbed "meditation in motion," helps older adults improve their subtle problems with cognition – specifically their judgment, memory thinking and other mental abilities that may, in some cases, progress to dementia.

You can check out Lifeline’s simple guide to seven Tai chi exercises and forms.

Listen to or play music. Music can provide a total brain workout. You are never too young or too old to enjoy the benefits of music and your brain is capable of learning how to play music at any point in your life.

Get plenty of good quality sleep

Sleep has been proven by numerous studies to improve memory recall, reduce mental fatigue and regulate metabolism. When you sleep, your brain reorganizes and recharges itself and removes toxic waste byproducts, which have accumulated throughout the day

Socialize more

Connecting with family and friends, building social networks and participating in social activities are like exercises for your brain because they keep your mind agile; improve cognitive functions; stimulate attention and memory and help to strengthen neural networks.

Harvard Women's Health Watch reported on a study involving 12,000 participants, which found that the risk of dementia increased by as much as 40 percent in people who are isolated and lonely.

Use your brain

Your brain's health is an important piece of your overall health and well-being. It controls your ability to communicate, make decisions, solve problems and live a productive and useful life.

Engage in continuous learning, learn new skills and teach them to others, pick up a new hobby, read and write and so on because even though your brain cells are not muscle fibers, they also operate under the same principle – use it or lose it!

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Watch the following video to learn simple steps you can take to keep your brain healthy and reduce your risk of cognitive decline.

This video is from the Daily Videos channel on

More related stories:

Gardening, art and more: 6 Home improvement projects that can help boost your mental health.

Aerobic exercise improves memory and brain power in older adults.

6 Natural ways to increase blood flow to your brain.

Sources include: 1 1 2 3 2 4

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