Keeping your brain fit is no doubt the least talked about part of your body when it comes to overall fitness and wellbeing. But why? Your brain is the most important and powerful part of your body, so why don’t we put more emphasis on keeping it fit. Enough of these slimming teas and ‘abs fast’ pads, let's focus on what matters, let’s look at some ways that you can look after your mind. Because after all, it’s your brain that works as the control station for everything from cutting onions to playing the piano.
Unfortunately, many people don’t think about brain health until they start to see some sort of cognitive behavioural changes, but there are many things you can do to keep your brain as healthy as possible throughout your lifetime, so let’s get into them, shall we?
A healthy heart
A healthy heart comes hand in hand with a healthy brain. So staying on top of your cardiovascular health is paramount. Focus on eliminating stresses, lowering cholesterol and cutting out any smoking habits, and yes that does include duals. A healthy, active lifestyle will go a long way towards keeping your blood flowing and avoiding neurological problems.
Plenty Of Sleep
A key way of keeping your brain fit and healthy is by getting your 7-9 hours of sleep every single night because sleep allows your brain to rest and heal. New research shows that sleep helps remove toxins from the brain that are linked to Alzheimer’s and Dementia.
We recommend that you do the following to ensure good quality sleep;
Commit to the same bedtime every night and have a 30-minute digital detox before your head hits the pillow.
Let go of worries. Try jotting down on a piece of paper what is bothering you and a quick to-do list for the following day, so that your brain knows that it doesn’t have to think about it in the night.
Take time to meditate. It’s proven that just 5-10 minutes of meditation each day can reduce anxiety, depression, fatigue, and confusion making it easier to fall asleep.
Moving Your Body
Try to make sure that you are getting a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise per day, try taking a dance class, join a football team or simply just stretch on your bedroom floor, whatever suits you and your lifestyle. A large Canadian study that found the more physically active adults were, the higher they scored on tests of memory and problem-solving.
Exercise helps promote healthy blood flow to the brain which in turn increases the size of the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for memory, which naturally shrinks as you age. Interestingly weight-bearing exercises using your legs were shown to be the most effective form of exercise for brain health as they send signals to your brain to make healthy new cells.
Having A Good Diet
Eating food with high levels of Omega-3 fatty acids, low in saturated fats and full of nutrients is amazing at keeping your brain fit. Try filling your diet with leafy green vegetables, along with whole grains and berries. When researching we found that a mix of the Mediterranean diet and the DASH diet was fantastic at promoting overall brain health. Oh and good news, dark chocolate has been found to improve memory and cognitive function.
Instead of spending all of your downtime in front of a screen watching Netflix or scrolling through Instagram, get out and spend some quality time having good conversations with the people around you. When you’re socialising with friends, you’re circulating blood to several parts of your brain to use memory, listen and formulate articulate responses. See socialising as a workout for your brain.