What is ‘cognitive health’ and why is it important?
Your cognitive health affects your ability to clearly think, learn and remember. As we get older, our cognitive health can take a turn for the worst and lead to cognitive decline or even Dementia. Not only can cognitive decline cause issues with memory but it can also affect the way we speak and our ability to learn new things so it’s important to take care of our brain health and reduce the risk of this happening.
Stay physically fit
Aerobic activity increases blood flow to the brain and feeds the tissues with oxygen, which lowers your risk of deterioration. Keeping fit also releases endorphins, reduces stress and improves your mental wellbeing – which is vital for your brain health.
Make use of the media around you
Most of us are aware that passively watching TV or reading magazines mean our brains are not kept active – which isn’t great if we want to maintain our cognitive health. However, watching documentaries or reading interesting articles that make you think can get the neurons in our brains firing. So next time you sit down in front of the gogglebox, try flicking to a thought-provoking documentary instead of reality TV.
Learn something new and get creative!
Learning a new hobby or skill is great for our wellbeing, confidence and brain health. It reall is the best way to keep your brain healthy and active, plus, it’s good fun. Check out Duolingo to start learning a new language or look up Pinterest for awesome craft ideas and recipes to make.
Challenge yourself with puzzles and games
Keeping your mind active with puzzles and brain games can be really beneficial for your cognitive health. Not only that but when you manage to solve a really difficult one you’ll feel pretty great about it! This’ll increase your confidence as well as being good for you – there’s really no reason why not!
Eat foods that encourage brain health
For all you foodies out there! You’ll be pleased to know that there are plenty of meals and snacks that are really nourishing for your brain and your cognitive health. From blueberries to dark chocolate – there are loads of goodies to sink your teeth into and you can enjoy them guilt-free, knowing that you’re doing something great for your brain: find out more here.
Take care of your mental wellbeing
Every expert will tell you that your mental health should be one of your main priorities. What they might not tell you is that not only is looking after your mental health good for your physical health, emotional balance and general happiness – it’s also vital for your cognitive health. Studies have shown that people who suffer from stress (or stress-related disorders) and depression are more likely to see a reduction in cognitive ability.
Feeling lonely or isolated comes with a huge list of negative health associations. From disrupted sleep to higher blood pressure, they all impact our wellbeing and can massively increase depression. Not only that but almost all are linked to a reduction in cognitive function. There really isn’t a better time to get social, so make sure to look out for local groups, classes and coffee mornings and set the time aside to see loved ones and friends.
Enjoy a day trip or two
Learning is the key thing here but that doesn’t mean it can’t be fun – in fact, the more you’re enjoying yourself and becoming intrigued by what you see, the more you’ll take in and think about, meaning your brain will be really active and your cognitive health will stay great! Museums, zoos, aquariums and other educational sites are great for this but don’t stop there. Try cocktail making classes or sightseeing tours, just anything that gets your brain cogs working!