Most Americans not only expect to live into their 80s or 90s, they look forward to it, says a nationwide survey conducted by Cleveland Clinic and Parade magazine. The survey sought the opinions on aging of 4,288 people ages 18 and older living in the United States.
Sixty-nine percent of the respondents said they wanted to live to 100 and enjoy their later years traveling and spending time with their children and grandchildren. Wise ideas for youthful aging!
So, what about the 31 percent who said they didn’t want to live to be 100? According to the survey, most of them fear losing their mental and physical capabilities. In fact, another survey of 3,265 adults conducted in 2016 showed that the biggest concern people have regarding aging is memory loss and the development of Alzheimer’s disease.
What’s going on up there?
Our brains do change as we get older; certain areas shrink, changes in blood flow may occur and inflammation from disease or injury may occur. Our genes and environment affect our aging brain too.
Even in a healthy brain, gradual normal changes can impact mental function, like remembering names and attention span. Positive changes can also occur that improve our knowledge, expand our vocabulary and improve creativity.
Reduce your chances with choices
Unfortunately, there aren’t any anti-aging creams or quick-fix remedies for our brains. Keep your brain in its best shape for the long haul. How? Follow these tips:
- Don’t forget the brain/body connection. Quitting smoking, maintaining a healthy weight through good nutrition, and exercise and drinking in moderation are good for both you body and brain.
- Take care of your ticker. If it’s good for your heart, it’s good for your brain. It’s important to keep your blood pressure and cholesterol in check, exercise and eat a heart-healthy diet.
- Remember to do mental exercises. Stay involved in social activities, spend time with family, friends and pets, read and spend time learning new things. Explore your creative side. All of these will help keep your brain sharp.
- Be sure to get your sleep. Natural changes that go along with aging can cause problems with sleep. Sleep is vital for brain health so try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. Remember that exercise can also help you sleep better too.
- Protect your noggin. Exercises like Tai Chi and yoga can keep your body strong and in-balance, protecting you from accidents or falls that result in brain injury. Seatbelts and helmets can help protect you from brain injury while you’re enjoying life on the move.
Would you like to find out how your lifestyle is adding up to help maintain your brain health for years to come? Visit healthybrains.org to sign up for a free brain health check-up. Complete the assessment and receive a free personalized brain health report and score.