How to Keep Your Brain Healthy As You Age


Learning how to keep your brain healthy as you age is vitally important to your overall health as well as preserving autonomy as much as possible. This June, as we observe Alzheimer's and Brain Awareness Month, we want to shine a spotlight on the importance of cognitive well-being and its impact on your future. Whether you're looking to prevent cognitive decline or just enjoy keeping a sharp mind, there are numerous approaches you can take.

Today, we’re discussing strategies for how to keep your brain healthy as you age which include lifestyle adjustments, engaging in mentally stimulating activities, and practicing relaxation techniques. Your brain health is precious, so it’s never too soon to begin.

How Brain Health Changes With Age

Before we dive into how to keep your brain healthy as you age, let’s talk about how it changes over time. Like many health considerations, brain health undergoes different needs as you continue getting older. What might’ve been simple or second nature when you were a younger adult won’t necessarily stay that way without care, attention, and steps toward how to prevent cognitive decline naturally.

Some ways brain health changes with age are:

  • Structural changes: Your brain tends to shrink in volume over time, especially in the regions responsible for memory and executive function. Without brain health practices, this can lead to slower mental processing and reduced cognitive function.
  • Neuron loss: It’s possible you’ll also experience a loss of neurons and the connections between them without taking steps toward how to keep your brain healthy as you age. While your brain has some capacity to form new connections, this decline can impact memory, learning, and other cognitive functions.
  • Chemical changes: The levels of neurotransmitters, which are chemicals that transmit signals between nerve cells, may also decrease as you age. This change can affect mood, cognitive function, and your brain's ability to process information as efficiently.
  • Blood flow reduction: Blood flow to the brain might become lessened over time, too, leading to less oxygen and nutrient delivery to your brain cells. This lack of healthy circulation could impede your cognitive abilities plus increase the risk of serious health conditions like a stroke. This highlights the benefits of the zero gravity position for inflammation and brain health, as well as other potential solutions.

While it’s not always possible to eliminate your risk of cognitive decline over the years, there is a wide array of strategies you can integrate into your routine to learn how to reduce your risk of Alzheimer's and support brain health as you age. The sooner you begin, the stronger the likelihood you’ll retain your mental faculties for the future.

How to Keep Your Brain Healthy While Getting Older

Strategies for supporting brain health are essential for how to improve cognitive function and maintain it as you get older. As you’ve learned, changes in brain health and structure can lead to cognitive decline unless you take steps to proactively protect and maintain it as best you can.

Some methods for how to keep your brain healthy while getting older can be categorized in these ways:

  1. Mentally stimulating activities
  2. Healthy living
  3. Relaxation techniques
  4. Protection from brain injury

1. Engage in Mentally Stimulating Activities

Part of how to keep your brain healthy as you age means engaging in mentally stimulating activities. Sort of like working out to promote physical well-being, these activities support brain health and may help prevent cognitive decline. Engaging in activities that stimulate your mind builds and maintains neural connections, enhances memory, aids in problem-solving skills, and more.

Here are some brain games and activities you can do to keep your mind sharp:

  • Puzzles and games: Playing crossword puzzles, Sudoku, chess, and other mentally challenging games supports brain health and improves cognitive abilities.
  • Learning new skills: Taking up new hobbies or learning new skills like playing an instrument, learning a new language, or taking up painting can stimulate your brain and create new neural pathways.
  • Reading and writing: Reading keeps your brain engaged while writing or journaling is a great way to connect your body and mind, getting your thoughts onto paper and supporting brain health over time.

2. Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle

Practicing healthy lifestyle choices is also vital to your brain health. Your diet, sleep habits, and other factors contribute towards overall wellness, which impacts your physical and mental well-being as you age. 

Follow these healthy lifestyle choices to support brain health:

  • Balanced diet: Eating a diet filled with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats provides essential nutrients for brain health and function. Foods with antioxidants, like berries, nuts, and leafy greens, can protect brain cells from damage.
  • Regular exercise: Physical activity increases blood flow to the brain and promotes the growth of new brain cells. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each week. Some great options as you get older are low-impact exercises like walking, swimming, or cycling.
  • Adequate sleep: Getting more restorative sleep is vital toward keeping your brain healthy as you age. You should aim for quality sleep, as this is essential for memory consolidation and cognitive function. Try to get 7-9 hours of sleep per night to allow your brain to rest and repair.

3. Incorporate Relaxation Techniques

Chronic stress can negatively impact brain health, leading to problems with memory, focus, and decision-making skills. Incorporating relaxation techniques into your daily routine can help manage stress and support cognitive function.

Try out these relaxation techniques to learn how to relax and recharge:

  • Mindfulness and meditation: Practicing mindfulness and meditation reduces stress, improves concentration, and enhances your emotional well-being. Taking a few minutes to meditate every day can make a positive impact.
  • Yoga and tai chi: These mind-body practices combine physical movement, calming breathing exercises, and meditation to promote relaxation and reduce stress levels.
  • Zero gravity chairs: Using top rated zero gravity recliners can help alleviate physical tension and promote relaxation. These chairs elevate your legs above the heart level and distribute your body weight evenly, reducing excess pressure on your spine and improving circulation. Not only are they ideal for physical wellness, but they also support brain health and mental well-being while you relax.

4. Protect Your Brain from Injury

While it may seem obvious, protecting your brain from injury is another strategy for how to keep your brain healthy as you age. Slips, falls, or other kinds of accidents can lead to injuries that negatively impact brain health. These are more dangerous as you get older and your body becomes more vulnerable.

Here are some strategies to help safeguard your brain from injury at any age:

  • Wear protective gear: Always wear appropriate protective gear when taking part in activities that pose a risk of head injury. These include activities like biking, skiing, or contact sports. Helmets can significantly reduce the risk of traumatic brain injuries.
  • Prevent falls: Falls are a common cause of brain injuries, especially in older adults. To reduce your risk of falls, make sure your living environment is safe by removing tripping hazards, installing handrails, and using non-slip mats as needed.
  • Drive safely: Practice safe driving habits by wearing a seatbelt, avoiding distractions, and following speed limits. This helps prevent car accidents, which are a leading cause of brain injuries.

Your brain health is critical to your ability to stay independent and retain cognitive function as much as possible while getting older. Learning how to keep your brain healthy as you age can be supported by following the tips and techniques outlined in this article. Integrating them into your routine as early as possible will give you the foundation you need to ensure a sharper, healthier mind for years to come.

Disclaimer: This content is not medical advice. Please consult with your healthcare professional when considering implementing changes to your health or workout routines to ensure it’s compatible with your needs.