The Brain Game: Body and Mind Fitness as You Age

Senior couple working on crossword puzzle together

There is always dialogue about increasing and maintaining physical activity for better overall health. Staying active, plus a healthy diet; a good night’s sleep; less stress; a go-to support system of family and friends; more work-life balance; avoiding excess alcohol (no more than a daily glass of red wine or less); and not smoking, with a dash of all of the other preventive measures (inclusive of consulting your doctor), equals the right recipe for staying on track to becoming fit. And if you’ve got an existing condition like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or obesity (as well as diabetes), it’s time to gain and maintain control of those loose cannons as well, to reduce risks of heart disease, heart attack, or stroke down the road.

The fact is, nutritional, physical, and social preventive measures – along with some cognitive training (hello, salad, walking shoes, workout buddy, and crossword puzzle!) – can help keep your brain sharp through the years as you age, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. The Mayo Clinic has also cited that lowering mid-life risk factors and chronic health conditions can help to lower Alzheimer’s disease risk. The American Heart Association, too, says that exercise may help keep your brain healthier longer.

So on top of a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats like avocados and olive oil, plus exercising for 30 minutes, five times per week, what are some of the things that you can you do to keep your brain healthy?

Do what you enjoy, but challenge yourself, too. Whether it’s kayaking or reading, if you love it, rock on; it brings happiness. New experiences could be designing a new garden, learning magic, or mastering a musical instrument. Try traveling somewhere new. Stay interested and interesting.

Have an active social circle. Good friends are golden; they offer companionship, a sounding board, a support system, and fun – that should go both ways! Share some mutual interest, or discover some new ones that you can introduce or share.

Safety first. Always wear a seatbelt when driving or riding in a car – ditto a bike helmet when cycling. Protect that noggin when playing contact sports. Also avoid falls in the home.

Stay active in body, mind, and spirit!

By Lisa Miceli Feliciano

Sources include www.alz.org, www.heart.org, and www.mayoclinic.com.

MHN Member Pulse is for informational and self-help purposes only. It should not be treated as a substitute for financial, medical, psychiatric, psychological, or behavioral healthcare advice, or as a substitute for consultation with a qualified professional. Managed Health Network, LLC (MHN) is a subsidiary of Health Net, Inc. The MHN family of companies includes Managed Health Network, MHN Services, and MHN Government Services. Health Net and Managed Health Network are registered service marks of Health Net, Inc. or its affiliates. All rights reserved.

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