We are constantly reminded of the things we can do to keep our bodies healthy and active, but our brains also need special attention to maintain cognitive function. Every brain changes over time, and cognitive function changes along with it. Little differences in your routine could help you improve and maintain brain function for years to come.
As one of the leading post-acute facilities in southern California, South Coast Post Acute offers cognitive care services. We work closely with our patients to ensure their minds and bodies are healthy. Read our article below to learn about some of the things you can do to keep your mind active.
Get Mental Stimulation
Just like engaging our muscles when lifting weights helps them get stronger, targeting our brain in various activities improves cognitive function. Scientists have found that brain stimulation can aid in developing neurological plasticity. This means our brains are capable of generating new connections between nerve cells and may even make it possible to create new cells. This new growth can help our brains to process information better as well as protect us against mental decline.
Physical Exercise Isn’t Just for Your Body
Research shows that using your muscles also helps your mind. Regular exercise increases the number of blood vessels carrying oxygen to the brain. Making movement a part of your daily routine also aids in the development of new nerve cells and synapses, the connections between brain cells. As a result, physically active brains are more efficient and adaptive.
Focus on Your Overall Health
Improving overall health conditions such as blood pressure, cholesterol, and diet can effectively improve brain function and reduce your risk of dementia. Good nutrition can help your mind as well as your body. A study in the National Library of Medicine suggests that adhering to the Mediterranean style diet, focusing on fruits, vegetables, fish, nuts, and unsaturated oils, reduced the effects of cognitive impairment and dementia. Other ways to improve overall health and brain function include:
The University of Chicago showed findings that feeling lonely, and associated health consequences, can trigger psychological and cognitive decline. Feeling isolated from other people disrupts sleep, elevates blood pressure, and increases cortisol and depression. All of these factors disrupt brain function and over time reduce cognitive function.
Cutting back on stress is easier said than done. Neuroscientists have discovered that chronic stress and high levels of cortisol can damage the brain. Neuroscientists at the University of California, Berkeley, found that young people who are exposed to chronic stress early in life are prone to mental problems such as anxiety and learning difficulties. Relaxing physical activities, such as yoga have been proven to lower cortisol levels and reduce chronic stress.
Don’t Skimp on Sleep
Scientists have known for years that the brain requires sleep to consolidate information. When trying to improve brain function and memory, it is important to get adequate sleep. The University of California, San Francisco conducted a study concluding that there is an association between poor sleep quality and reduced gray matter in the brain. More gray matter is associated with better cognitive function, while decreased gray matter is associated with dementia such as Alzheimer’s disease.
South Coast Post Acute is Southern California’s Premier Post-Acute Partner
It is essential to engage in good practices that keep your brain agile and protected from cognitive issues such as dementia. Making even the smallest changes to your mental and physical health can keep your brain healthy and active as you age. At South Coast Post Acute, we offer world-class services designed to keep seniors engaged and healthy to live their best life. Learn more about our cognitive services and memory care today!