We were listening to Newstalk Radio this morning when Professor Roseanne Kenny started talking about positive ageing and how our brain really affects how we age.
Professor Kenny is part of the TILDA (The Irish Longitudinal Study on Aging) research project which is managed by Trinity College Dublin. It found that people’s attitude greatly affects how they age.
How your brain thinks affects how you age (this can aid positive ageing or negative ageing) therefore if you think in a youthful way, your brain thinks you are younger and therefore can slow down the ageing process.
So there are ways we can help ourselves to age positively.
Professor Kenny reported that the things that most people worry about include stroke, dementia, being lonely and loss of mobility (independence). To avoid being lonely, try hanging out with friends away from work. During our working lives we tend to associate with our co-workers but when we retire they may not retire at the same time. Ensuring you have a good mix of friends will help avoid being lonely. You could also join a club, for example, Men’s Sheds or a senior aqua aerobics class. This will also help you meet new people and make new friends. For help with the other issues, read on.
A new study published in the Journal of Neurology informs us that a healthy heart in your 20’s could prevent brain shrinkage decades later. The brain depends on a healthy heart and circulatory system to work right. Unhealthy activities lead to the narrowing of blood vessels and hardening of arteries hindering blood flow to the brain. Looking after your heart today greatly reduces the risk of memory loss, the ability to think sharply, Alzheimer’s and dementia in the future.
The American Heart Association ‘life’s simple 7’ guidelines followed by people in their twenties have been proven by the study to increase the volume and cognitive function of your brain in later years. ‘Life’s simple 7’ guidelines include eating healthy, losing weight, controlling blood pressure, reducing blood sugar, keeping track of cholesterol, quit smoking and maintaining an active lifestyle. Findings from the study displayed that people who scored better on ‘life’s simple 7’ guidelines had a higher brain volume after 15 years.
Increase nitric oxide in the body
Look at ways in to increase nitric oxide in the body. Nitric oxide is essential for the heart and brain to function. It is a molecule responsible for transmitting signals to every cell in our body. The more nitric oxide you have, the better your heart and brain will work. Nitric oxide improves your memory and behaviour by transmitting signals throughout the brain. Taking L-arginine and L-citrulline (nobel prize winning research) will restore your nitric oxide systems back to when you were young, energetic and as sharp as a razor.
A healthy diet can reduce your risk of plaque build up in the arteries, heart disease, high cholesterol and weight gain. Heart-healthy diets need to abundant in fruits, vegetables, fibre rich whole grain foods and Iron. Foods high in sugar, saturated fat, salt and processed should be cut from your diet or at least minimized.
Maintaining an active lifestyle
Exercise and activities that get your blood flow pumping will mean blood will go to your brain more and you will be able to think and remember better. Not only does it improve your memory in the long run but also has amazing ‘feel good’ factor by releasing hormones and chemicals in the brain, improving brain health. Not everyone likes to exercise but it doesn’t have to be boring, take a dance class, go for a swim or join group exercise classes. This will help you get fit whilst having a good time.