Boost Your Midlife Brain Health

The human brain naturally shrinks with age, meaning that brain cells do not work quite as effectively as they used to. By the time a person reaches the age of 45, the memory begins to decline, as do other aspects of brain health. However, there are a number of ways in which you can boost a midlife brain to improve its health while giving it some extra protection for the upcoming years.

Man doing puzzle

Brain Exercises
There are many brain games and puzzles out there that are designed to help create new associations between different parts of your brain, which is great for strengthening it and keeping it sharp. You can also try carrying out normal, everyday activities, but using your non-dominant hand. For example, if you are usually right-handed, try using your left hand to do everything from brushing your teeth to hoovering the carpet.

Woman running with dog

Regular Exercise
One of the most effective ways in which you can boost your brain health is by partaking in regular exercise, as this has been proven, for many years, to be able to boost cognitive function. It does this by reducing cell damage and inflammation while increasing the density of brain cells, as well as blood vessels in the brain. When it comes to the different types of exercise out there, aerobic exercise is one of the best, as this can help with the parts of the brain that are associated with organizing, multi-tasking, and planning, while boosting heart health at the same time. Resistance training has been linked to beneficial effects on the memory, as has low-intensity yoga, so try to include these in your exercise routine too.

Control Your Blood Sugar Levels
Not only does high blood sugar levels lead to obesity and diabetes, but this also damages blood vessels in the brain, while impairing the parts of the brain that are responsible for memory. Lowering your blood sugar levels is as simple as making a few lifestyle changes, from practicing regular exercise to eating a diet high in vegetables, fibre and whole grains.

Group of friends

Socializing
Humans are social creatures, and, as studies have shown, socializing is important when it comes to keeping the brain stimulated and sharp. Research has shown that older adults who are less socially active tend to experience more cognitive and physical limitations, so make sure that socializing takes a priority in your life.

Brain-Boosting Foods
While a healthy diet itself is important for your brain, as well as your body, there are certain foods out there that are known for being especially beneficial when it comes to brain health. At the top of the list are foods that contain omega-3 fatty acids, such as oily fish and walnuts, as these have been linked to improved memory and focus, as well as a lowered risk of dementia.

Your brain is incredibly complex, but boosting its health does not need to be. From physical activity and a healthy diet to brain games and socializing, these tips will help you to keep your mind as sharp as possible while your body continues to age.

Extend Your Life by Reading Books

Woman reading on bed

Reading brings about many different benefits, from de-stressing the mind to improving language skills, but there is one extremely advantageous benefit that many are not aware of. A recent study carried out by the Yale University’s School of Public Health showed that people who regularly read books, rather than magazines or newspapers, add an extra two years onto their lifespan when compared to those who do not read, giving you the perfect excuse to begin spending your evenings curled up with a good book.

Results of the Study
The study carried out by Yale University lasted for 12 years, and focussed on three subject groups; those who did not read at all, those who read for around three and a half hours per week, and those who read for more. Even in the second group of subjects, there was still a 17% chance of an increased lifespan, showing the incredible benefits that reading can bring.

How Does Reading Books Extend Lifespan?
Unlike magazines or newspapers, reading books encourages two cognitive processes that are extremely beneficial. The first is referred to as “deep reading”, which is an immersive process that enables the reader to form a connection to the world around them. The second cognitive process is the way in which books are able to promote everything from empathy to emotional intelligence, all of which heighten the body’s chance for survival. The way in which books feature complex, interwoven stories cannot compete with the short snippets of information provided by newspapers and magazines, and this recent study has more than proven the varying effects that different types of reading material can have.

Reading book

How Long Should You Read For Each Day?
Yale University’s study showed that the longer that a participant read for each day, the longer they would live for. While you may not have time to read for hours each day, even 30 minutes a day can still be hugely beneficial in terms of extending lifespan. One of the advantages to reading is that it can be done just about anywhere, so even if you do not have time at the end of your day, try bringing a book along on your commute to work, or setting aside some time on your lunch break.

What Types of Books are Best?
While the study did not look into the exact genres of books that were read by participants, other studies have discovered that around 87% of book readers choose to read fiction, meaning that fiction was most likely to be the primary type of book read during the study. However, this does not instantly mean that other types of books are not beneficial, although more studies will need to be carried out in order to confirm this.

In addition to extending your lifespan, reading also brings about so many other health benefits. From improving memory to expanding knowledge to boosting analytical thinking skills, making the effort to squeeze in at least 30 minutes of book reading a day will have some hugely positive effects on your life.

Healthy Mind and Body

When it comes to enjoying a long and happy life, having a healthy mind and body is key. There is no longer a debate about the connection between the mind and the body, and, in order to truly enjoy your life, it is essential to keep both of these healthy.

Woman meditating

Daily Meditation
Meditation is a tool that can significantly boost both the mind as well as the body, and at the same time too. Studies have shown that just eight weeks of regular meditation not only helps people to feel calmer overall, but also results in changes in certain parts of the brain, including a growth in the areas that are responsible for empathy, stress regulation and memory. When it comes to the more physical aspects of the body, meditation has been linked to a decrease in a number of issues, from hypertension to depression to heart disease to addiction. If meditation is something new to you, do not feel intimidated by it. There are plenty of well-written guides online that explain the different meditation techniques that are best suited for beginners, so take a look and set aside some time today for your first meditation session.

Woman resting after exercise

Daily Exercise
Exercise is something else that benefits both the body and mind at the same time, and there have been plenty of studies throughout history that document the many benefits of daily exercise. Not only does physical activity help to slow down the aging of the body, but it also increases the brain’s ability to learn and adapt, while reducing stress and helping to eliminate depression. The daily exercise that you do can be chosen based on your interests. If you want something quick that you can do at home, take a look at aerobic exercises. However, if you like to be outdoors, and this in itself has its own additional benefits, then there are plenty of outdoor activities that will be able to get your heart racing.

Women laughing

Laughter
When it comes to the connection between the mind and the body, laughter has managed to baffle researchers for many years, as it affects both in a unique way. A hearty belly laugh not only slows down the production of stress hormones within the body, but it also gives the immune system a good boost.

Woman sleeping

A Deep Sleep
When it comes to good health, the quality of your sleep is important to consider, as this affects both your body and your mind. A lack of quality sleep causes the body to fall out of balance, leading to a weaker immune system, weight gain, faster aging, and depression. A healthy sleep is achieved without the use of pharmaceuticals or alcohol, and, when you wake up in the morning, the vibrant feeling you experience will let you know that you have had some quality rest.

A healthy mind will lead to a healthy body, and vice versa, but there is nothing quite like tackling both at the same time. From meditation to laughter, these tips will ensure that your life is filled with health and happiness.