Your memory deteriorates as you age, but there are some things you can do to exercise your brain a bit and slow down the process. Stephen Rao, PhD, studies brain health and Alzheimer’s disease at the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health. He says if you want to improve cognitive function, try getting active.
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Dr. Rao recommends a few approaches: “Becoming very active, not only physically, but socially. Engaging in taking coursework, perhaps playing a musical instrument — activities like these can actually make a big difference in terms of maintaining one’s cognitive health.”
Dr. Rao says socializing is also a great way to keep your mind active; interacting with others seems to have a highly positive effect on the brain. Even something as simple as volunteering your time to help others helps your mental well-being. Dr. Rao also recommends reading and doing mental exercises such as crossword puzzles. In addition, eating a low-fat diet may make a difference as the brain ages.
Dr. Rao thinks it’s especially important for men to keep their cognition in mind as they grow older. “Exercise and maintaining a cognitively stimulating lifestyle can actually be more protective for males than it is for females in terms of preventing the progression into Alzheimer’s disease,” he notes.