There are ways that you can increase your mental awareness even as you get older

There are ways that you can increase your mental awareness even as you get older

As you grow older, you start to notice some changes in your ability to remember things. The occasional memory lapses that you experience with getting older are due to changes in the structure and function of your brain that can cause a slowing down of certain cognitive processes. The result is that you may have a slightly more difficult time learning new things or screening out distractions that can interfere with memory and learning.

Physiological changes in your brain may not be the only reason for decreased mental alertness as you age. Researchers believe that your lifestyle can contribute to a decrease in mental awareness. A lack of stimulation, both mental as well as physical, can lead to a decrease in your mental and physical fitness as you age.

Years of research have shown that there are a number of ways to increase mental alertness naturally. The human brain has the amazing ability to adapt and change, even as you age. This ability, referred to as “neuroplasticity”, is especially true when it comes to learning and memory.

Start your new schedule

Maintaining mental alertness and a sharp memory as you age are dependent upon the health and vitality of your brain. There are a lot of things that you can do to improve your memory, to strengthen your cognitive abilities, and improve upon your ability to learn new information.

Research has shown the importance of sleep when it comes to memory, creativity, critical thinking skills, and problem solving. Establish a regular sleep schedule – 7.5 to 9 hours per night– and stick to this routine on weekends and holidays.

Just as important as sticking to a sleep routine in establishing an exercise routine. Physical exercise, especially aerobic exercise, increases the supply of oxygen that gets to your brain, and also enhances the effects of stress-reducing and other hormones.

Eating a healthy diet that includes foods for mental clarity such as omega-3s, yogurt, lots of fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains not only has benefits for your health, but can also help to improve your memory.

Create a regular schedule to complete tasks that require the most mental clarity. For some people that’s first thing in the morning, for others it’s before going to bed.

Consider adding supplements for mental alertness such Vitamin C, E, B12 and minerals such as magnesium, zinc, and silica, to your daily routine.

Keep going

Make lifelong learning a top priority if you want to maintain mental alertness as you age. Join a book club, play games such as chess or bridge, do crossword puzzles or Sudoku, or work on jigsaw puzzles. Try learning a new language or take a meditation class which not only helps with mental clarity, but can also help to reduce stress.

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