During our life, our brain alters more than any other part of the body. From the moment the brain begins to develop, its complexities go through a constant range of growth, change, and loss.
With normal aging, all of our systems go through a rate of decline. This includes the brain.
Common memory changes accompanied with the normal aging process can include:
- Remembering peoples’ names
- Remembering appointments
- Having a hard time learning new things
- Diminished Short Term memory
What’s Happening in Your Head
We now know there are a number of actual physical changes to our brains that are happening as we age.
Brain Mass Reduction
Around the age of 60 or 70, the frontal lobe and hippocampus begin to shrink. These are the areas that allow higher cognitive functions and the programming of new memories.
Cortical Density Reduction
Declining synaptic connections result in the outer-ridged surface of the brain becoming thinner.
White Matter Shrinkage
The brain’s white matter is made up of bundled myelinated nerve fibers. These nerve fiber tracts are responsible for carrying the nerve signals between brains cells.
Researchers believe that the Myelin shrinks with age.
Decreased Production of Neurotransmitters
Research suggests the brain produces less chemical messengers as it ages. The decrease in this chemistry plays a role in reducing overall cognition and memory. It also explains increases in depression as reduced levels for other reasons of this same chemistry is what is directly linked to Clinical and Chronic depression symptoms.
Way’s to Slow Down Brain Aging
Researchers have discovered therapies and other strategies shown to slow the progress of brain deterioration as we get older.
Regular Exercise and a Healthy Diet
Imagine that, the same old song and dance that come up as a natural treatment for so many other illnesses and conditions.
More and more we are discovering how much a proper diet and regular exercise not only can make us live longer, but it can make the quality of our lives that much better, for longer.
If you aren’t sure what changes you need to make, talk to your doctor or get a referral to a Certified nutritionist who can help you set up a diet that will work just as hard for you as you are.
Suggested Article: Can Fruits and Vegetables Boost Mental Health?
Solve Puzzles and Play Games
Just like a “body in motion stays in motion,” keeping your mind active through various forms of problem-solving will give your brain its own work-out routine. Whether it’s a game of chess with a friend or a relaxing turn at Sudoku with your morning (or evening) coffee, problem-solving activities have been shown to keep the mind sharper.
Playing an instrument
Those music lessons you were forced to endure in childhood do have a purpose.
Researchers have discovered that learning to make a sound on a musical instrument alters brain waves enough to improve your listening and hearing skills. This change in brain activity reveals that the brain can rewire itself and compensate for injuries or other issues that affect our ability to perform day to day activities.
Keep Up Your Social Network
And no, we don’t mean Facebook. It won’t matter if you are getting out or staying in, remaining socially active with old friends and new will help your brain stay stimulated.
Overall, change as we get older is inevitable. It’s good to know, though, that there are things we can do now and, in the future, to help keep our quality of life as enjoyable as possible. Then we can do more and experience more, well after we retire.