Self Care + Health

Stay Sharp: 10 Ways to Keep Your Brain Healthy

May 31, 2024

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Hey there, fabulous ladies over 50+! When I was young, I had an almost photographic memory. Literally, I knew my credit card numbers by heart, I didn’t even have to look up my deductions when doing my taxes because I remembered them all, and I never forgot a phone number… You get it. Fast forward a few years, a couple of inflammatory autoimmune and chronic pain conditions later, and I have serious brain fog. If you want to stay sharp, I’ve found you actually have to work at it. You can’t be complacent about a healthy brain, because without it, everything else is so much more difficult.

The thing is, it’s a lot more fun to stay sharp in your mind than you might think. These 10 ways to keep your brain healthy have nothing to do with medication, supplements, or quick fixes. And they are all things you can do on your own to keep your mind engaged so you can continue on your journey. (And BTW, no matter what your age, your journey isn’t over yet!)


Stay Sharp After 50: 10 Ways to Keep Your Brain Healthy

Try these 10 ways to keep your brain healthy, and have fun doing it!


1. Stay Social and Have Fun

Connecting with others is a great way to keep your brain active. A study published in the “American Journal of Public Health” found that older adults with higher levels of social interaction had a significantly reduced risk of developing dementia. It’s also a prime reason people live long in many “blue zone” areas of the world. Chat with friends and family regularly, join clubs or groups that interest you, and get involved in community activities. Volunteering is also a fantastic way to meet new people and keep your mind engaged. Video calls became commonplace for everyone during the pandemic, but don’t stop now. Seeing your loved ones face to face, even if it’s on video, tightens those bonds. If you don’t have Facetime with an Iphone, or prefer to use your desktop, Zoom is free to use and super easy to use.


Stay Sharp: 10 Ways to Keep Your Brain Healthy


2. Get Moving to Keep Your Brain Healthy Too

Exercise isn’t just good for your body; it’s amazing for your brain too! Aim for at least 30 minutes of activity most days. Whether it’s walking, swimming, yoga, or even dancing, find something you love so that you will stick with it. For me, I love nature, so power walks in the forest is my fav way to get moving. Don’t get me wrong, I have days when I just do a mindful stroll and take note of all the beautiful birds, plants, and trees. But hey, your mind needs that too! (Oh, and I have a stationary bike in my office. I mean, gotta do what we gotta do, right? 🥵)  Activities that combine physical and mental challenges, like dancing or tai chi, are especially beneficial.


Stay Sharp: 10 Ways to Keep Your Brain Healthy


3. Never Stop Learning

Keep your curiosity alive by learning new things. Reading is one way to learn. In fact, it’s the way I’ve been learning since I was 4! Try new hobbies, take up a class, or learn a new language. There are tons of online courses available on platforms like Coursera and Udemy. Lifelong learning keeps your brain engaged and builds new connections so you can stay sharp.


4. Play Online Adult Memory Games

Puzzles, crosswords, Sudoku, and strategy games are not just fun—they’re great for your brain! Apps like Lumosity and websites like BrainBashers offer a variety of memory improvement games that can help improve your memory and problem-solving skills. Lumosity only has three free games if you don’t want to do a subscription, but I think those three are enough. I try to start my work day with these memory games, and I swear I started feeling less brain fog within days! Also, Wordle on your phone. I just use the free version, but it makes your brain work! You get one new word to guess every day. If you want to cheat, there are hints online every day, just Google for them. But to find out the basics on how to play, go to Wiki.


5. Eat Brain Healthy Foods

A healthy diet is super important to keeping your brain sharp and in top shape. Eat lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. Foods rich in antioxidants (like berries) and omega-3 fatty acids (like salmon) are particularly good for your brain. Don’t forget to drink lots of water, and limit soda and sugary and processed foods. I am a red wine drinker, and I am with the Sardinians, an area in Italy where people live to 100 and better. Red wine is good for me. Your take on alcohol? All up to you! But like the experts tell us, moderation is key.


Stay Sharp: 10 Ways to Keep Your Brain Healthy


6. Prioritize Sleep to Stay Sharp

Good sleep is essential for a sharp mind. Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep each night. Personally, when I was younger, I could do 5-6 hours if I had to. (Five kids, ya know. ;)) But now, I need 8-9 hours. Everyone is different, and it can change as we grow older. For women over 50+, menopause and chronic conditions play a big part in how much sleep we need as well. Establish a regular sleep routine, avoid screens before bed, and create a cozy sleep environment. Good sleep helps your brain process and store memories.


7. Practice Mindfulness and Manage Stress

Stress can take a toll on your brain. Try mindfulness practices like meditation, deep breathing exercises, or yoga to keep stress in check. Apps like Headspace and Calm offer guided meditations that can help you relax and reconnect with yourself. I’ve been using Calm for more than 5 years, and I need it. Even if I forget to meditate every day, it’s always there for me during a stressful time, to help me with sleep, or to just feel better.


Stay Sharp: 10 Ways to Keep Your Brain Healthy


8. Stay Curious and Creative for Mind Health

Keep your sense of wonder and awe about the world around you alive. Read books, watch documentaries, visit museums, and explore new places. Engage in creative activities like painting, writing, or crafting. Creativity stimulates different parts of your brain and keeps your mind flexible. Even something like creating family trees online at a place like Ancestry (which I love!) helps your mind engaged. I mean, it’s history and family ties!


9. Enjoy the Outdoors

Have I said this before? 😉 Nature is good for the soul. It is also great brain booster. Spend time outdoors, take regular walks in the park, garden, or simply sit outside and enjoy the fresh air. Being in nature can improve your mood and reduce stress. Go hiking and combine the positive effects of nature and exercise to keep your brain healthy!


Stay Sharp: 10 Ways to Keep Your Brain Healthy


10. Regular Health Check-ups Help You Stay Sharp

Don’t skip your health check-ups. Regular visits to your doctor can help you stay on top of any health issues that could affect your brain, like high blood pressure, diabetes, or thyroid problems. Always discuss any cognitive concerns with your healthcare provider.

Learning to stay sharp after 50 is all about staying active, curious, and connected. By bringing these simple and enjoyable strategies into your daily routine, you can keep your brain healthy and engaged, leading to a more joyful and fulfilling life.

Here’s to staying sharp and living life to the fullest at every age!

What are your favorite ways to keep your mind sharp? Share your tips and experiences—we’re all in this together!

#MindSharpness #Over50 #HealthyAging #LifelongLearning #BrainHealth #ActiveAging #WomenOver50 #StayEngaged #MentalWellness #HealthyLifestyle

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