It is a known fact that as we age we do not have the same capabilities as we once did when we were let’s say twenty years old. Aging has its effects – those being on our mental and physical abilities. According to William R. Klemm Ph.D., “Behaviorally, aging can cause your reflexes to slow. You may notice movements such as; walking, and even talking. Our memory starts to fail, especially the short-term form of memory ability that is so crucial for learning new things”. However, even though we begin to have this mental and physical decline this does not mean there are not ways to battle this. If we are proactive and begin to engage our minds and bodies in everyday activities we can keep our bodies feeling young and our brains sharp.
Ways to Battle Mental and Physical Decline
When we are talking about mental decline we are talking about forgetting the everyday things like where did I put my glasses? Or not being able to count out change as quickly as we used to. Basically, our brains are working at a much slower pace than when we were younger. Our bodies are the same way in this sense. We start to have aches all over and this makes us not want to get out of bed in the morning. Although this is a part of aging, below are a few ways we can be proactive about keeping ourselves feeling younger.
Keep the brain active: there a few different ways we can do this. Try fun activities that challenge the brain to think like crossword puzzles. Trying to learn something new such as a different language. Pick up a new game such as chess or even reading the newspaper on everyday topics can help to keep our brains sharpened.
Make Habits: memory loss doesn’t always have to be so tricky. If you consistently forget where you put your glasses get into a habit of keeping them in a specific place in your home. For example, on the night stand next to your bed. If you give everything a place in your home you’ll always know exactly where your things are. In addition, get into the habit of writing things down, if you need to go to the store make a grocery list this way you won’t forget and you also will have outsmarted your memory loss.
Exercise: there is much to be said about going for daily walks and getting your blood pumping. You don’t need to go for mile long jogs around town; however, taking a stroll through the park with a friend can help those aging to battle physical decline. It could also be helpful to join a gym or get into yoga. Yoga can be very relaxing and not such a strenuous activity.
Destress: Yoga not only helps our physical bodies but it can help our mental state as well. It focuses on breathing and relaxes the body which can reduce the feelings of stress and anxiety. If yoga is not for you then try meditation or another form of relaxation. Releasing stress can be a pivotal part of helping yourself mentally.
Eating correctly: having a good diet can help your physical and mental abilities. Ensuring that you are getting enough vitamins and minerals is crucial. Incorporate meat or beans into your meals so you are getting enough protein. Try to stay away from soda and definitely drink more than enough water every day. Eat fruits and vegetables. If you feel as though you aren’t getting enough of a certain vitamin try taking supplements and speak with your doctor about your diet.
Getting older means we need to take care of ourselves more. Sitting around watching TV all day will only harm us mentally and physically because this does not require us to think or be active. However, being mentally and physically proactive requires us to enjoy what we are doing. If you want to keep your brain active but really dislike the game of chess – then try something else like a cooking class! The important part of taking care of ourselves is that we are enjoying what we are doing while trying to live a healthier lifestyle. So, above all try and keep yourself active but make sure you are enjoying yourself while doing so!
Eisler, Melissa. “6 Benefits of Yoga for Seniors.” The Chopra Center, 6 Oct. 2016, www.chopra.com/articles/6-benefits-of-yoga-for-seniors#sm.0006u0xoh1d9ae2psol2gigfi3ykm.
Klemm, William. “Ten Ways to Slow Mental Decline with Age.” Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers, 10 Sept. 2012, www.psychologytoday.com/blog/memory-medic/201209/ten-ways-slow-mental-decline-age-1.
Publications, Harvard Health. “How Can You Prevent Cognitive Decline? Try This Combination Strategy.” Harvard Health, Harvard University, www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/how-can-you-prevent-cognitive-decline-try-this-combination-strategy.