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As you age, the frequency of forgetfulness seems to increase. You might start to wonder, “What did I need to get from this room?” or “When is my daughter’s anniversary again…” or even “I can’t exactly remember how to get home from here.” As humans age, short-term memory decreases, reaction times slow, and problem solving may get a little more challenging. It can be frightening to realize brain function is slipping as you age, but thankfully there are quite a few ways to improve brain function, learn new skills, and set yourself on a positive track forward!

Start a new hobby

Maybe you already play cards with your friends, joined a book club, and tried your hand at painting. If you haven’t, now is the perfect time to start a new hobby. Learning something new requires your brain to stretch and remain fit throughout the years. Perhaps the best new hobby to improve brain function later in life is meditation. Meditation can improve your brain’s neuroplasticity, according to Mindful.org, which gives your brain a greater effectiveness over time. Why not try out something new and exercise your brain?

To improve brain function, wear hearing aids

A study completed by Johns Hopkins University in 2011 found a link between hearing loss and dementia. Researchers concluded that the brain gets overwhelmed decoding foreign sounds and is no longer able to keep up with a high level of functioning. University of Exeter also completed cognitive testing in people over the age of 50 and found that hearing aids can actually protect your brain. With the help of these devices, the brain can properly interpret sounds and instead focus on storing memories, problem solving, and other functions.

Care for your body

Moving everyday is beneficial for your body, but it’s also a great way to improve your brain function. An increase of blood flow as a result of exercise decreases your likelihood of cardiovascular disease as well as inflammation in your brain. Ceasing smoking and treating diabetes can also decrease your risk of brain shrinkage. According to Healthline, obesity can be a contributing factor to Alzheimer’s disease and memory loss, so it’s important to maintain a healthy weight. Outside of daily exercise, you should also make sure to get proper sleep at night. When you sleep, memories get stored in your brain, so it’s especially important to get sufficient sleep to help your cognitive function. 

Brainfood: Change up your diet

How healthy is your diet? We all know that sugar is bad for us, but did you know it could also shrink the short-term memory area of the brain? An article published in Alzheimer’s & Dementia: the Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association proved there is a connection between overloading on sugar and Alzheimer’s disease. While dessert is always a welcome treat, it may be a good idea to cut back for the sake of your mind. You should also up your dosage of omega-3 fatty acids. Whether you eat fish, nuts, leafy greens, or fish oil supplements, you will help your brain’s cognitive function.

By: Diana Michel

Sources: JHU, NCBI, Healthline, Mindful