4 Ways To Stay Sharp As We Age

Here at Maxim Medical, we are about all things health. This is not just specific to physical health, but mental as well. Both aspects of our lives correlate with one another. It would be only half true to consider yourself healthy if it was only exclusive to the physical. As we age, we tend to lose the mental sharpness we get so accustomed to in our youth. In this article this week, we will go over 4 ways to stay sharp as we age.

1. Keep Learning

Once we reach a certain age, it can be difficult to retain new information for long periods of time. One way to combat this is through continuously learning as we get older. A higher level of education is associated with better mental functioning in old age. Experts think that advanced education may help keep memory strong by getting a person into the habit of being mentally active. By doing mental exercises, it is believed this can activate processes that help maintain individual brain cells and stimulate communication. Aside from jobs that keep us mentally active, pursuing a hobby or learning a new skill is also very beneficial.

2. Use All Your Senses

When learning something new, this allows us to we rely on our brain to retain the memory. In one study, adults were shown a series of emotionally neutral images, each presented along with a smell. They were not asked to remember what they saw. Later, they were shown a set of images, this time without odors, and asked to indicate which they'd seen before. They had excellent recall for all odor-paired pictures, and especially for those associated with pleasant smells. Brain imaging indicated that the piriform cortex, the main odor-processing region of the brain, became active when people saw objects originally paired with odors, even though the smells were no longer present and the subjects hadn't tried to remember them. So, challenge all your senses as you venture into the unfamiliar. 

3. Economize Your Brain Use

This tip involves implementing some steps to make our lives a bit easier and convenient. If you don't need to use mental energy remembering menial tasks or reminders, you'll be better able to concentrate on learning and remembering new and important things. By taking advantage of calendars and planners, maps, shopping lists, ect, we can keep routine information accessible. Designate a place at home for your glasses, purse, keys, and other items you use often. Removing clutter from your office or home will also help minimize distractions, thus allowing you to focus on new information that you want to remember.

4. Space It Out

Repetition is the best method as a learning tool when it's properly timed. It's best not to repeat something many times in a short period, as if you were cramming for an exam. Instead, re-study the essentials after increasingly longer periods of time — once an hour, then every few hours, then every day. Spacing out periods of study is particularly valuable when you are trying to master complicated information, such as the details of a new work assignment. Research shows that spaced rehearsal improves recall not only in healthy people but also in those with certain physically based cognitive problems, such as those associated with multiple sclerosis.

Individual results may vary