As 2016 winds down, our thoughts turn to the goals and hopes we have for the coming year. Many Americans have the tradition of setting New Years Resolutions, and the number one ambition of most of us focuses on the health of our physical bodies. Just as important, however, is the health of our brain.
The National Institute on Aging has an informative resource addressing the emphasis we should be placing on the state of our minds. Included is a PowerPoint presentation, an Educator Guide, Handout, list of additional resources, as well as a document regarding the impact some medicines can have on an older person's brain. This is a vital topic to be addressed with your physician.
One of the biggest questions surrounding aging is in regards to Alzheimer's. Can it be prevented? While research continues, there is yet to be a clear-cut answer. However, studies have shown that diet and exercise as well as mental stimulation can be influencing factors.
As we age, it can become more difficult to perform mental tasks. This is why it's important to incorporate a brain-healthy lifestyle now. Adapting a "brain workout" can strengthen brain function with activities including games like Sudoku. Other suggestions could consist of making a list, memorizing it, then waiting sixty minutes or so to test yourself on how many items you can recall. Learning something new such as how to play an instrument or speak a foreign language can challenge and strengthen your brain as well. A more detailed list can be found on the Harvard Health Publications website.
And so, as you contemplate the positive changes you'd like to incorporate into the coming year, consider the benefits of brain-healthy activities. Not only can you strengthen your brain, but you might just find a hidden talent or discover an activity you really enjoy. Here's to brain health, and a happy, healthy 2017!