Aging? Good Friends Key to Boosting Brain Health

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Aging? Good Friends Key to Boosting Brain Health

December 20
21:03 2017

Image result for seniors

Which worries you most about getting older – your physical health or mental health?

There are precautions we can take to reduce the health risks in both areas.

As for your physical health, the keys are to eat a nutritious diet, exercise, don’t smoke and limit your drinking. Yeah, I know it sounds a lot easier than it really is, especially the nutritious diet and exercise, but realize that there are many ways to make exercising fun. It can be done with friends or in a group, it can be walking outdoors and exploring the sites or even bicycling and swimming. Playing some active sports like basketball and volleyball can be fun. Even dancing on a regular basis can be considered a form of exercise.

Eating a nutritious diet? That’s harder. None of us want to give up some of our favorite foods like a thick juicy steak or baked potato loaded with butter, cheese and bacon. What about giving up lasagna or your favorite ice cream? (My favorite ice cream is Cold Stone where I mix Ghirardelli chocolate with either the coffee or butter pecan and then add fudge and chopped almonds).

While these things are not good for on a regular basis, an occasional splurge is okay.

Maintaining a healthy diet and exercising also helps maintain mental health and reduces the risks of dementia and stroke. I’ve also seen a number of reports that say doing various kinds of puzzles helps to maintain mental health. I try to do at least Sudoku puzzle and one online jigsaw puzzle every day. I highly recommend a website called Jigidi where tons of people post puzzles that range anywhere from 9 pieces to 500 pieces. It helps with mental sharpness. If you enjoy Sudoku puzzles, check out this site.

But what about someone who doesn’t enjoy puzzles or cannot get out and exercise as much as they would like? Is there anything they can do to help boost their mental health?

Yes, and it’s so easy and so much fun.

Have you ever known some older people who remain mentally sharp and still have good memories? According to a recent report?

“That may be one reason why this lively centenarian has an extraordinary memory for someone her age, suggests a recent study by researchers at Northwestern University highlighting a notable link between brain health and positive relationships.”

“For nine years, these experts have been examining ‘SuperAgers’ — men and women over age 80 whose memories are as good — or better — than people 20 to 30 years younger. Every couple of years, the group fills out surveys about their lives and gets a battery of neuropsychological tests, brain scans and a neurological examination, among other evaluations…”

“For their new study, the researchers asked 31 SuperAgers and 19 cognitively ‘normal’ older adults to fill out a 42-item questionnaire about their psychological well-being. The SuperAgers stood out in one area: the degree to which they reported having satisfying, warm, trusting relationships. (In other areas, such as having a purpose in life or retaining autonomy, they were much like their ‘normal’ peers.)”

“‘Social relationships are really important’ to this group and might play a significant role in preserving their cognition, Rogalski said.”

“That finding is consistent with other research linking positive relationships to a reduced risk of cognitive decline, mild cognitive impairment and dementia. Still, researchers haven’t examined how SuperAgers sustain these relationships and whether their experiences might include lessons for others.”

God created man to be social. If you recall, when He made man, God said it was not good for man to be alone.

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