There is no getting around it. If you stay fit and healthy, maintain a healthy weight and exercise, you improve your chances of keeping your faculties., of keeping your mind fit.
And, what if you have been unfit all your life and are starting to panic in middle age? Well, the good news is that middle age is not too late to get fit and stave off the risk of dementia and other age-related conditions.
Physical exercise which keeps the blood pumping ensures that the body and mind can keep working well into old age. In other words, use it or lose it NOW.
Best exercises which you can incorporate into your everyday life to keep your mind fit without costing you much money include walking, cycling or swimming for at least 30 minutes a day. If you have never exercised, take it easy to begin with. Many older folk are drawn to swimming or aqua aerobics in a heated pool, often as part of an organized group as then they also have companionship.
If you have weight to lose, stick to these exercises to start with. Once weight has started to shift, you may want to do more cardio work to build muscle. Then it is time to go to a gym for weight training. This is not essential but does help in overall fitness. And a fit body is a fit mind but specific exercises for the brain are also vital.
Mind games to keep the brain fit
It has been suggested that as we get older, our brains need to be challenged in new ways. We spend most of our lives doing activities which suit our abilities which, of course, is natural. The key to keeping your mind fit is to challenge it in new ways.
If you are good at words, you write or communicate. If you are good with numbers, you tend to work in fields using math such as accountancy or financial advice. If you are analytical, you may be in science or medical research.
People can be brilliant in their fields - while using only part of their brains. But in our older years, we need to use as much of our brains as possible to keep it working at all.
For a start, wordsmiths should try number games such as Sudoku or simple mathematics without the help of the calculator. The mathematicians should go for word games such as Scrabble.
It is all about setting new challenges for the brain, getting it to do something it has hardly ever, or never done before. It might seem a bit of a giggle, and you will laugh doing some of the activities, such as:
Brushing your teeth with the other hand;
Tying shoelaces with the other hand dominant;
Driving to work using a different route;
Getting dressed with your eyes closed;
Combining two senses such as smelling flowers while listening to music.
And, how's this for a challenge? Experts say that one of the best ways to keep your mind fit is to learn a new language. The benefit of that also is that it will help when you travel, spending all that hard-earned retirement money.
But other activities recommended to keep the brain fit are:
Playing card games;
Doing a course;
Maintaining and extending friendships;
Essentially, changing your routine in any area of your life is good for keeping your mind fit..
Going to a different supermarket or auto mechanic means dealing with new people, memorizing different things and breaking through boredom. Boredom and routine are the greatest killers of the mind. It is only when you fear losing it that you realize that you control your mind, not the other way around.