Cognitive Health, the ability to think, learn, and remember, is an important component of brain health:
- Motor function – how well you make and control movements
- Emotional function – how well you interpret and respond to emotions
- Sensory function – how well you feel and respond to sensations of touch, including pressure, pain, and temperature
5 Things to Focus on for Maintaining Cognitive Health:
- Take Care of Your Health
- Eat Healthy Foods
- Be Physically Active
- Keep Your Mind Active
- Stay Connected
Studies link ongoing Physical Activity with benefits to the brain. In one study, exercise stimulated the human brain’s ability to maintain old network connections and make new ones that are vital to cognitive health. Other studies have shown that exercise increased the size of the brain structure important to memory and learning.
Keep Your Mind Active
Keeping intellectually engaged has been found to show benefit to the brain. People who engage in meaningful activities, like volunteering or hobbies, say they feel happier and healthier. Learning new skills may improve your thinking ability as well. For example, one study found that older adults who learned quilting or digital photography had more memory improvement than those who only socialized or did less cognitively demanding activities.
Formal cognitive training also seems to have benefits. In the Advanced Cognitive Training for Independent and Vital Elderly (ACTIVE) trial, healthy adults 65 and older participated in 10 sessions of memory training, reasoning training, or processing-speed training. The sessions improved participants’ mental skills in the area in which they were trained. Most of these improvements persisted 10 years after the training was completed!