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How to keep your brain sharp even in old age

If you want to remain mentally agile even when you're old, you need to start now!

Written by Editorial Team |Updated : March 14, 2018 5:04 PM IST

Mental practices that allow us to receive, select, store, transform, develop, and recover information that we've received from external stimuli, are commonly known as cognitive functions. This process allows us to understand and relate to the world effectively. Brain health refers to the ability to remember, learn, play, concentrate and maintain a clear, active mind. Simply, brain health is all about making your brain work to the maximum.

You start getting old the day you are born; the brain ages by the day, like any other part of the body. Cognitive ageing is a process of gradual, ongoing changes in cognitive functions that occur as one gets older. This, however, is not a disease; it is a natural process of brain ageing. It occurs differently from person to person, which is an influence of genetics, lifestyle and environmental factors. The process of brain ageing cannot be prevented however it can certainly be kept in check with these tips by Dr Ashok Hande, Neurosurgeon, Hiranandani Hospital, Vashi- A Fortis Network Hospital.

Stay physically active:Exercising regularly increases & improves blood flow, and supports memory capability. It stimulates chemical changes in the brain enhancing learning, mood and thinking. It is reported, that exercising regularly lowers the risk of developing Alzheimer s disease

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Be socially and intellectually active: Leading an active social life can be beneficial; it protects you from memory loss. Keep working as long as you like, this decreases the chances the ageing of the brain through constant activity

Get adequate sleep: Sufficient sleep increases your energy, improves mood, builds your immunity and reduces the build-up of an abnormal protein in the brain called Beta-amyloid Plaque

Eat better: It is reported that those who follow a healthy diet have a 21% lower risk of Brain damage. Your brain if often exposed to stress due to lifestyle and environmental factors which cause damage to the Brain. Drink lots of water to avoid dehydration and Hypoglycaemia. Consume plenty of rich and fibrous fruits and vegetables.

Mental exercise: Physical exercise is important for your overall health; mental exercise is just as critical for a fit and healthy brain. It improves your brains functionality that positively promotes brain cell growth. Securing your mental health also prevents you from developing Alzheimer s or Dementia in the future. Through intellectual stimulation, learning and retaining capabilities increases. Intellectual curiosity, the pursuit of education, even games, reading and learning new activities or langue are all easy ways to exercise your mind.

Music: Listening to or taking up music reduces stress, anxiety and pain. It is also known to be effective in lowering Blood Pressure. There is a significant improvement in sleep quality, mood and mental alertness.

Meditation: Meditation boosts mind and body health. It regulates focus and improves the experience of the environment around us. Researchers have found denser grey matter (thicker Brain Cortex) in brain areas related to memory and emotional processing, in expert meditators. It improves focus and memory, lowers Heart disease and Blood Pressure as well as overall stress levels.

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