What do you think of when you think about ‘fitness?’ Most people will rattle off answers about physical fitness like running, hiking, walking, etc. But they’re forgetting about mental fitness! Just like we exercise our bodies, it’s important to exercise our minds as well. Mental activities to keep your mind sharp are a great tool to have as you age. Below we’ll talk about brain health and different ways to stay mentally active.
Why is Brain Health Important?
Just like the muscles in your body, if you don’t work out your brain, your mental fitness declines. It’s important to maintain healthy brain habits so we can continue to enjoy social interactions, work a job as long as we need to and even rest when we need it! Keep reading for our top tips for mental fitness.
Stay Mentally Active with These Tips:
1. Maintain Your Physical Fitness
That’s right, staying physically active helps with brain health! Exercise gives your brain more oxygen which can help improve memory, reasoning skills and reaction times.
2. Pick Up a New Hobby
Learning new things allows the brain to build neural pathways that enable us to experience emotions and sensations as well as create memories. The more neural pathways we build, the easier it is to learn! Bonus: pick a hobby like sewing or woodworking that requires you to use both sides of your body to make precise movements. Building neural pathways for these activities can improve special awareness and reaction times.
3. Treat Yourself to Some “Me” Time
Cortisone is a hormone in your body that’s released when you’re stressed. Extra cortisone can damage your brain and make things like memory extra difficult. Take time for yourself to destress - your brain will thank you!
4. Tap into Your Competitive Side
Playing games with family and friends can help keep your memory and reaction times sharp. Plus, mental activities are always more fun when you have someone to do them with! You can watch a game show and try to answer the questions correctly or find a trivia game you like!
5. Get Quality Sleep
While we sleep, the brain replays our experiences, which helps with emotional, procedural and declarative memories. Emotional memories include what we were feeling during a specific experience, procedural memories help us with “muscle memory” activities and declarative memories are the conscious record of each experience (like what you ate today). Essentially, without the right amount of deep sleep, we aren’t able to function properly.
Ideas 1-4 are something you can easily do on your own. But getting sleep, arguably one of the most important aspects of mental fitness, is something that many people need help with. If you’re having issues with sleep, Advanced Respiratory Care Network may be able to help! We offer sleep testing and customized sleep consultations. Learn more about our Sleep Diagnostics or book an appointment today!