Everyone has the occasional forgetful moment, but generally speaking, aging is not the cause of cognitive decline. Eating a well-balanced diet, getting adequate sleep and exercising regularly are the basic fundamentals of maintaining brain health. Take a step further and stay mentally agile through the Golden Years by using these strategies to protect and sharpen your mind:

Keep learning. Continuing education is a proven way to maintain healthy brain activity and problem solving skills. Whether you channel learning opportunities through your job, hobby or learning a new skill, challenge your brain with mental exercises that stimulates communication among brain cells.

Read (not watch) the news. Keeping up with current events and affairs is one of the best ways to stay in touch with the world and your local community. It may be easier to sit on the couch and let the local news anchor tell you what’s happening in the world around you, but reading the newspaper or even scrolling through your Twitter feed activates your brain from an analytical perspective. It is also a good idea to read at least one article with an opposing opinion every day. Your brain chemistry is stimulated by competing knowledge or dissenting opinion. 

Repeat to remember. Just like learning your multiplication tables in grade school, repetition is key to learning. When you want to remember something – a person’s name, a neat fact, an important date – repeat it out loud three times then write it down to reinforce the memory or connection.

Meditate and think happy thoughts. You work hard, and so does your brain. Give it a break by promoting positivity and meditating for 10-20 minutes every day. Positive emotions improve your ability to process information and reduce stress. As you meditate, think about a time or person in your life that made you truly happy. Imagine everything about the experience – from the smells to the weather to the dialogue and feelings. The memory alone will spark connections in the brain to improve your mood.

Exercise. Regular exercise is a fundamental way to maintain brain health. Cardiovascular activity pumps oxygen-rich red blood cells and nutrients to the brain that helps promote brain cell functionality.

For more ways to stay sharp during Grow Month, check out the activity schedule for more ways to improve wellness and feed your mind.