4 tips to fight forgetfulness

4 tips to fight forgetfulness

As the human brain ages, cognition levels decline, and our thinking skills begin to slow down. Chances are, if you’re an adult experiencing signs of forgetfulness or mental lethargy, you’re anxious about developing common age-related diseases like dementia, which rakes in 10 million new diagnoses every year, according to the World Health Organization.

Studies, however, found that there are steps you can take to improve thinking skills, and possibly memory skills, as you age.

University of Miami researchers studied a group of more than 11,000 seniors with either healthy or mildly impaired cognitive function. They found that participants who exercised regularly over time showed significant increase in thinking skills.

In the study, most participants found aerobic exercises to do the trick. Other activities like strength training and mind-body exercises were also effective. Going for brisk walks, joining water aerobics classes or doing tai chi or yoga are all great ways to get moving.

Dr. James Vales, a family medicine practitioner with Advocate Medical Group at Advocate BroMenn Medical Center in Normal, Ill., emphasizes the importance of seniors exercising for improved cognition.

“As the cardiovascular system is regularly conditioned, the blood flow to the brain is dramatically and positively affected,” he says. “The brain utilizes about 20 percent of the circulating oxygen, so any decline in the circulatory function hits the brain and cognition pretty hard.”

Dr. Vales also adds that interacting with other people and even just the process of getting from point A to point B challenges seniors and helps preserve brain function.

The benefits of exercise are clear – staying active as you age is crucial to living a healthy life. Here are some tips on building an active lifestyle, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

  1. Find a routine. Getting started can be difficult after a long break from exercise. Talk with your doctor about what’s right for you. Then plan some of the activities you will do during the week ahead of time. This will help keep you be accountable.
  2. Stick to it. In the University of Miami study, it took 52 hours of activity over a six-month period for the positive effects of exercise to kick in. While that may seem like a lot, note it’s only about two hours per week.
  3. Find meaning. Sticking to a routine can become tedious after a while. Ask yourself why you exercise, and keep your focus on overall health. Not only will your physical fitness improve, but you’ll also feel more confident and optimistic.
  4. Get involved. A great way to get moving is to be involved in your community. Find out if your local gym offers any weekly walking groups or exercise classes. Meeting new people and being part of a group can keep you motivated in the long run.

Related Posts

Comments

One Comment

  1. I definitely agree that incorporating cardio workouts on a regular basis into our lives can have a profound effect on cognitive functioning and prevent dementia in many cases. However, I do think this has to be combined with eating a healthy diet with plenty of fresh, organic vegetables, nut and seeds, whole grains, a protein supplement and and little to no red meat to both maximize its effect and limit the risks associated with heart disease. Beyond this, while yoga, pilates and tai chi are all useful activities which can promote peace of mind and provide a sense of calm and relaxation, as well as making one stronger and more flexible, there are plenty of people who practice these types of exercise on a regular basis in the classes that I attend every day but don’t exercise or eat healthy, who are also evidencing signs of cognitive decline.

About the Author

health enews Staff
health enews Staff

health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Health Care sites, also including freelance or intern writers.