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April 26, 2016

Simple Things Older Adults Can Do Every Day to Boost Brain Health

Enriched environments that include “physical, social and cognitive stimulation” can help to create new neurons in the brain, growing both gray and white brain matter. Plus, a 2013 Canadian study shows how an enriched environment can also boost learning and memory, as well as brain power, overall. This study focused on people with traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), and suggested that “simple lifestyle changes can reverse brain atrophy and degeneration associated with TBI.”

In other words, you can actually boost your brain power by building some basic everyday habits. According to Dr. Shilpi Agarwal in the article 7 Everyday Habits that Can Improve Brain Health, our daily routine can have a significant impact on our neurological and mental health, and making good decisions about what we eat, as just one example, can enhance brain ability. Here are other ways to benefit your brain health, boosting focus, memory and mood.


When you get enough sleep (seven to nine hours a night), your brain can process information more quickly and your memory can be enhanced. While you sleep, your brain can also repair its own damaged cells.


If you enjoy reading, know that you can benefit significantly from this activity, strengthening cognitive skills. Emory University research indicates that reading fiction promotes brain function and connectivity, specifically in embodied cognition, a technical way of saying that you can imagine doing something that you aren’t actually doing.


Harvard University research has found that meditating regularly can boost gray matter in the brain. This boost leads to improved senses, memory and decision making. And, meditating also helps you deal with stress and can improve your mood.

Another article, 10 Daily Habits for Better Brain Health, shares more helpful strategies to improve the health of your brain. These include:

Enjoying the Great Outdoors

When you visit parks, beaches and other places outdoors, you are probably moving about and socializing with other people, both of which can boost brain health and an overall sense of wellbeing. Simply being in nature can be relaxing, and evidence suggests it can also boost your immune system.

Put Fish on the Menu

Fish contains omega-3 fatty acids, which can reduce brain inflammation and nurture brain cell growth. Research indicates that eating fish can even lower your risk of dementia. To increase omega-3s, add more salmon, tuna and other oily fish to your diet.

Believe in Yourself

Everyone has challenges in life. Everyone faces criticism. How you interpret them—as a limitation in yourself or as an opportunity for growth—is a choice, and seeing them as chances for growth is healthy.

Charge of the Day

Take control of your own brain health. According to an article quoting Sandra Bond Chapman, Ph.D. (author of Make Your Brain Smarter, and the founder and chief director of the Center for BrainHealth at the University of Texas at Dallas), “When you develop new interests, pursue hobbies or perform specific brain exercises, you enhance your brain’s ability to become more proficient, and at the same time, expand memory. The science of neuroplasticity confirms this rule. Simply put, you have considerable control over your own brain function, since much depends on what you experience, and how you use your brain.”

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