Exercise Your Brain To Stay Sharp

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Orlando HealthNeelu Dhingra, MD
Neurology
Orlando Health

In our fast-paced, more-is-better world, technology helps us stay informed and entertained around the clock. But information overload can harm our brain’s ability to function properly. Staying brain healthy is as easy as getting up, eating right, and setting limits.

Get Out of Your Chair
Technology has tethered us to our laptops and phones, which means more screen time and less movement. Sitting too much can wreak havoc on our physical health, weight, and posture. Studies show being sedentary affects the body’s nervous system by creating additional brain pathways to nowhere — making your brain more sensitive to stimuli that can result in confusion and erratic thought patterns.

To counter these effects, break up your workday with walks or 30 minutes of exercise, install a standing desk or pace the hall during a conference call. A little bit of movement throughout the day not only keeps your body limber and strong, but it’s also a workout for your brain as well.

Watch What You Eat
It’s important to fuel your body with good foods to stay healthy and lower your risk of many diseases. As it turns out, what we eat has a direct correlation to our brain’s health, too. Fast-food diets full of empty calories may stave off hunger, but to ward off cognitive decline and boost your memory, eat a well-balanced diet that includes:

  • Leafy greens such as broccoli, kale and spinach.
  • Fatty fish, including salmon, trout and sardines, which are good sources of omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Berries that are rich in flavonoids, which can ward off toxins and help decrease your risk of heart disease and cancer.
  • Walnuts and almonds, which deliver healthy fats and protein, are packed with vitamin E and help slow mental decline.
  • Coffee and tea quickly perk you up and can have a positive effect on your long-term memory.
  • Alcohol and smoking have been linked to dementia and Alzheimer’s, so it’s best to try to break both of those bad habits.

Set Limits
Today, most of us are hyper-connected and overwhelmed by round-the-clock information. Expectations for immediate email replies and attempts to multitask have our brains constantly jumping from thought to thought without time for reflection or focus.

To slow down, schedule windows of time for checking and replying to emails. Turn off your phone’s ringer and laptop’s notifications to reduce distractions when working on an assignment. Scheduling moments for spaced learning can give your brain a chance to cement all that data collection into long-term brain connection.

Following these steps will not only work to keep your mind active today but will set a strong foundation against future genetic and age-related challenges. In short: Eat right, get enough sleep and stay active. Staying healthy is as easy as using your brain.



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