The same factors that prolong life have been proven to keep our minds sharp as well. Studies of those who’ve live to be 100, show behavioral commonalities among the 25% of these centenarians who remain mentally sharp, showing no signs of cognitive decline. Also, of these elders, many didn’t exhibit any form of dementia until age 92 or later. Here’s the collective of their aging secrets for a long life & a healthy mind.
- Stay lean. A study of twins over a 40 year period found that those who were overweight in midlife were 1.5 times more likely to experience dementia by 65 years of age. It is never too late to drop those extra pounds.
- Eat for a Healthy Heart. A diet built on fish, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, fruits seems to reduce risk of cognitive impairment. One study showed a 28% improvement in cognitive function over a four year period for those who positively altered their diets.
- Move that Body. A one mile walk done daily—that for most could be done within 10-30 minutes—reduces the likelihood of dementia by 50% according to research.
- Change up your Activity Routine. A study of 1,300 people aged 70-89 asked participants about their daily activities starting in middle age. Those who read, painted, played games, did arts and crafts, and stayed physically and mentally active were 30-50% less likely to be experiencing memory loss.
- Sleep. While insomnia can increase with age, a good night sleep, during regularly scheduled times, helps memory and recall. If you’re struggling with sleep, avoid late afternoon naps, try to stay away from electronics an hour before bedtime, avoid late meals, keep your bedroom between 65-68 degrees and watch alcohol & caffeine as both will steal sleep.
- Socialize. Loneliness takes a toll. Spending time with others has been shown to decrease the incidence of Alzheimer’s.
Getting older does not have to mean sickness is inevitable. Many, if not most, of the illnesses people experience with aging are largely preventable. If the list above is new news to you, it’s not to late to start incorporating all of the above into your daily routine. Health is a natural state of being. If we give our body more of what creates health, our bodies will move towards greater health.
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