Our brains are amazing organs: available to hold our feelings, emotions, memories and so much more. It’s no surprise, then, that research is continuing to discover how our brains are linked to our overall health – and how keeping our brains “young” can help us age well, too.
The brain-body connection has long been talked about, but it’s only recently that we’re starting to gain actual, quantifiable information that validates this hypothesis. As we learn more about this connection, we’re uncovering ways to help make the aging process as beneficial to older adults as possible.
This involves finding ways to help reduce the risk of dementia and other cognitive diseases.
According to guidelines set forth by the World Health Organization, paying particular attention to the brain and body link may help slow or delay the onset of dementias like Alzheimer’s disease. The key is to pay attention to the aspects of health you can control, avoiding unhealthy triggers and providing the best possible environment for optimal body and brain health.
Physical health results in brain health.
We all know what needs to happen in order for us to stay physically healthy (even if we don’t necessarily do it): eat a healthy diet, get enough exercise and find purposeful and meaningful activities.
Let’s start with the healthy diet and lifestyle aspect: Eating right and getting enough exercise results in a healthy cardiovascular system, which means you’re less susceptible to diseases like diabetes, strokes, heart diseases and hypertension. Why is this important with regards to brain health? Because our brains rely on a healthy, consistent flow of blood to nourish them. When health issues arise that cause hiccups in this flow, it can lead to damaged or dead brain cells. It stands to reason, then, that maintaining a heart-healthy routine results in a brain-healthy routine.
Experts generally recommend that adults partake in a heart-healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, healthy fats like avocados and olive oil, and antioxidant-rich foods like berries. The other side of the equation is staying physically active, which helps keep your heart in tip-top shape. Getting regular exercise (the CDC recommends approximately 30 minutes a day, 5 times a week) and maintaining a healthy weight are both excellent ways to help improve your brain health while reducing your risk of diseases like dementia.
Brain exercise is important as well.
Your brain is an organ, but it’s also a muscle in its own way. It’s essential to “flex” your brain cells in order to make sure your cognitive function is operating at its peak. Doing so helps your body generate new brain cells as well as new connections between neurons. It all results in neuroplasticity, which is the brain’s ability to adapt, shift and flex as issues arise. Forget the saying that “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” Research shows that learning is possible throughout your whole life – eand is even accessible in individuals with dementia.
Exercising your brain doesn’t mean you have to do advanced math or learn a completely new language. Instead, it simply means that older adults should seek opportunities to learn new things, pursue favorite habits and stay socially active (among other things). Anything that gets your brain firing is a good thing, so look for opportunities that are interesting and challenging to you individually.
Get a good night’s sleep.
When it comes to brain and body health, we often forget about the benefits of sleep. As it turns out, getting a good night’s sleep is more essential to overall health than you might have previously thought. Think of it as a “reset” function. Current research shows that a good night’s sleep helps clear brains of toxins, including beta-amyloids. These are proteins that have been shown to connect to dementia development as well as cognitive decline.
Sleeping well can get more challenging as we get older, which is why it’s more essential than ever to focus on maintaining good sleep hygiene. This includes things like:
- Making sure your bedroom is comfortable: Keep the room at a comfortable temperature and make sure that light and sound are suitably buffered. You may wish to consider investing in blackout curtains and a good white noise machine.
- Clear the area of distractions: Yes, that means removing television and other screens from the bedroom. Make sure that your sleep area is dedicated to sleep. Having this level of calm will help your body more easily adapt to the idea of “sleep” and “rest.”
- Create a calming bedtime routine. Start developing a routine in the evening that signals calm and sleep to your body. This can be reading a few chapters of a book, taking a warm bath or meditating. Whatever works to get your mind and body in a good place is worth investing in.
A healthy brain means a healthy body which means a healthy aging process. The good news is that, no matter how young or old we are, there are things we can start doing now to improve our brain and physical health immediately, setting us up for success for the future.
Reserve Your Apartment Today!
We look forward to introducing you to the definitive, distinctive lifestyle at Waterstone of Lexington and welcoming you as one of the first residents of our new community. For more information, please call 781.728.3037 and discover how you can help shape the future of our premier rental community for seniors 62 and over.
Welcome Home to Waterstone of Lexington. Opening Late Summer 2022.
For seniors in Middlesex County who desire a carefree lifestyle, we welcome you to Waterstone of Lexington. The mid-century style of this dynamic community was inspired by the nearby Gropius House and the area’s tradition of innovative, modern architecture. In this classic, beautiful new community, you’ll be inspired by all the amenities and programs to take up a new hobby, exercise in our fitness center and indoor pool, and make new friends while dining and enjoying social events.
Offering independent living and assisted living, Waterstone of Lexington provides myriad ways for seniors 62+ to enjoy their retirement to the fullest. Bridges® by EPOCH at Lexington, a dedicated memory care assisted living community, is also conveniently located across the street from us.
Step inside Waterstone of Lexington and experience the calming yet engaging atmosphere that our talented architects and designers have so beautifully crafted. Waterstone of Lexington is filled with energizing and convenient amenities such as an indoor pool, fitness center, salon, underground parking and more. Then, enjoy your elegant living space – a large, sunlit apartment complete with a full-size designer kitchen, well-appointed bathroom, walk-in closet and more.
Our rental apartment community means no steep entrance fees, providing greater financial flexibility. Everything at Waterstone of Lexington was all created with you in mind, where our attentive team members, extensive programs and luxury amenities give you the ability to make life your own – how you like it.
Welcome to Waterstone of Lexington. Join the experience of what life is like at this premier senior living community by calling 781.728.3037.