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Staying Mentally Sharp into Old Age – It’s Not Just about your Genes

by Michael Cohen, Director
Center for Brain

Getting older doesn’t mean your brain can’t be sharp – and even improve! We now know that genes are just one piece of the puzzle when it comes to maintaining or losing brain function. Just because Grandma “lost it” doesn’t mean you will. Lifestyle choices can have a great deal to do with your mental fitness as you age.

In recent years researchers have been looking at randomized controlled trials to see which, if any, interventions influence memory and under what circumstances. This work has dispelled a few myths and brought attention to some things that really do make a difference.

In a fascinating blog titled “20 Must-Know Facts to Harness Neuroplasticity and Improve Brain Health,” Alvaro Fernandez synopsizes a number of the latest brain health facts coming out of trials. Fernandez is CEO of Sharp­Brains, an inde­pen­dent mar­ket research firm track­ing health and well-being applications of brain science. He’s also co-author of The SharpBrains Guide to Brain Fitness: How to Optimize Brain Health and Performance at Any Age.

While we won’t go into all 20 of his “must-know” facts, we wanted to share a few that we found particularly interesting.

Brain training helps strengthen neurons in the brain.

Better connected neurons mean a better functioning brain. The neurofeedback we do at Center for Brain is aimed at doing just that.

Watching TV is associated with reduced cognitive function!

Less TV is better.  It’s best to hit the “off” button and go do something else like…trying something new, or taking a current skill or practice to the next level. The challenge of those activities can change and strengthen the brain.

Filling your life with routine activities does nothing to help. Engage your brain in something you’re unaccustomed to like taking a different path to the park or listening to a different kind of music. Ride your bike instead of driving or walking. Or…?

Physical fitness and regular exercise are good for the brain. They increase the size of the brain and the blood supply to the brain and enhance the level of growth hormones.

 Aerobic exercise in particular is good. That includes such activities as running, walking and playing tennis. Three times per week for 30-60 minutes is ideal.

Food matters! The Mediterranean diet, which emphasizes fruits, vegetables, grains, olive oil, beans and nuts, has been shown to slow mental decline. Click here to read a comprehensive article about the Mediterranean diet by positivehealthwellness.com.

 Don’t worry about having a glass of wine with dinner. Alcohol in moderation has been shown to lower your risk of dementia.

 Be social.   Interacting with others stimulates the brain and helps keep it in good shape.

At Center for Brain, we use the latest technology to help you exercise your brain. Brain exercise makes a huge difference over time in processing speed, memory and staying alert.

We consistently see aging clients get sharper who might otherwise go in the other direction.

Find out what’s possible. Take advantage of our consultation with Mike Cohen, director of Center for Brain and a very accomplished brain coach.

Call : 561-744-7616 or email info@centerforbrain.com.

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