How to Improve Cognitive Function
The long-term impact of our lifestyle choices has an impact on cognitive function as we get older. Finding ways to improve cognitive function doesn’t require completely upending your life but integrating new and healthy habits into your daily routine. While the importance of cognitive function becomes all the more vital the older we get, starting these habits as early in life as possible helps safeguard your mental faculties.
Today, we’re discussing how to improve cognitive function as you age. Learn about various aspects of improving cognitive function, from nutrition and mental health to sleep, exercise, and even using tools like zero gravity chairs. A few simple, sustained lifestyle changes now could make a massive difference in the long run.
What Is Cognitive Function and Why Does It Decline as We Age?
Cognitive function is a term that encompasses mental factors like memory, attention, and problem-solving. It changes as we age, often declining the older we get. This decline in cognitive function is a natural part of the aging process, influenced by factors such as genetics, changes in your brain structure, and alterations that happen in your neurotransmitter activity.
As references in our previous resource on how to prevent cognitive decline, these age-related changes can lead to a gradual decrease in memory recall, slower information processing, and diminished problem-solving abilities. While some decline is inevitable, there are ways to mitigate these effects.
Understanding the factors of cognitive decline helps you implement proactive measures to support and maintain cognitive function as you get older.
What Factors Contribute to Improving Cognitive Function?
What about factors for how to improve cognitive function versus simply preventing its decline? Improving cognitive function can take a multi-pronged approach, incorporating various lifestyle changes that work together to support a healthy mind over time. From dietary choices to mental stimulation, you’ll find that the factors to improve cognitive function are frequently interconnected.
- Nutrition: A well-balanced diet rich in antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamins supports optimal brain function. These nutrients help your brain facilitate its cognitive processes and protect against age-related decline.
- Physical activity: Regular physical activity and exercise are good for more than just a boost for your body — they’re also good for your brain. Exercise yields increased blood flow to your brain, which results in the release of neuroprotective substances.
- Quality sleep: Learning how to get more restorative sleep extends beyond your physical well-being. Adequate sleep is a critical factor toward how to improve cognitive function, playing a significant role in memory consolidation and mental clarity.
- Mental stimulation: Keeping your mind active and engaged is fundamental to improving cognitive function. Engaging in mentally stimulating activities like puzzles, reading, and learning new skills helps to maintain and improve cognitive function by promoting neural connections and synaptic plasticity.
How to Improve Cognitive Function With Lifestyle Changes
The ways to improve cognitive function are not a one-size-fits-all set of actions. Instead, they involve a holistic health care approach that incorporates changes in various areas of your lifestyle. From dietary adjustments to mental activities, sleep patterns, and even the use of specific tools like zero gravity chairs, each one plays a role in protecting your mind as you get older.
Some areas to consider for how to improve cognitive function in the long term include:
- Nutrition and dietary choices
- Mental health activities
- Sleep hygiene
- Physical activity
- Tools to improve cognitive function
1. Nutrition and Dietary Choices
A nutrient-rich diet is an important foundation for how to improve cognitive function. Incorporate foods high in antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, and essential vitamins. Choose a balanced diet that includes fish, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and whole grains. You also need to stay hydrated, as enough water intake also supports cognitive processes.
Start by incorporating small changes first, such as adding a serving of berries to your breakfast or having a handful of nuts as a snack. Gradually increase the intake of nutrient-dense foods and water into different meals, slowly adding healthier foods to your diet.
2. Mental Health Activities
Mental stimulation is another key aspect of how to improve cognitive function. Immersing yourself in activities like brain games, puzzles, reading, or learning a new skill keeps your mind sharp and engaged. You can also help protect your mental health and improve cognitive function by practicing mindfulness and stress reduction techniques like calming breathing exercises to support overall mental health.
Dedicate regular time to activities that stimulate your mind, whether it's solving crossword puzzles, reading a book, or learning a new instrument. For stress relief, even a few minutes each day dedicated to mindfulness practices can produce a noticeable improvement and support cognitive function over time.
3. Sleep Hygiene
As previously discussed, sleep is a factor for cognitive function. This means getting adequate amounts of quality sleep is vital for how to improve cognitive function as we get older. Start getting better sleep by establishing a consistent sleep schedule, creating a comfortable sleep environment, and trying to get the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep per night.
Prioritize sleep by creating a relaxing night time routine that gets your mind and body ready for sleep. A great place to start is by setting a schedule for going to bed and getting up at the same time each day. Make sure you’ve also created a sleep-conducive environment by keeping the bedroom dark, quiet, and cool. You should also limit screen time before bedtime to promote better sleep quality.
4. Physical Activity
Regular physical activity has profound benefits for the brain. Include a mix of low impact exercises, strength training, and flexibility exercises in your routine to improve cognitive function and keep your body healthy.
Getting active doesn’t need to be a chore. Find activities you enjoy, and you’ll be more likely to stick with them and create a healthy new habit. Whether it's taking a brisk walk, cycling, or doing yoga, aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week to reap the cognitive benefits.
5. Tools to Improve Cognitive Function
You might incorporate a wide array of tools into your regular health routine to improve cognitive function in the long term. Tools like zero gravity chairs can contribute to improved cognitive function by enhancing physical comfort, reducing stress, and providing numerous health benefits.
Zero gravity chairs are designed to elevate the legs above the heart level and distribute weight evenly along the body. This neutral position chair reduces excess stress on your lower spine and works to increase blood flow throughout your body. Better blood flow helps with how to improve cognitive function and boost your overall brain performance. Additional features like heat therapy or massage functions further deepen your relaxation and enhance the experience.
Learning ways to improve cognitive function as we age takes a holistic approach that involves various lifestyle changes. Adjustments like adopting a nutritious diet, engaging in mental and physical activities, ensuring quality sleep, and choosing a zero gravity chair take proactive steps to support your brain health. While some cognitive decline may be inevitable, these strategies contribute to maintaining your cognitive function as you get older.
Disclaimer: This content is not medical advice. Please consult with your health care professional when considering implementing changes to your health or workout routines to ensure it’s compatible with your needs.