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5 ways to keep your mind sharp after 50

Posted on 25 September 2019

3 min read

Have you ever bumped into someone and panicked because you couldn’t remember their name?

Or found yourself searching high and low for your car keys again and again?

Moments of forgetfulness happen to all of us, whatever our age. And as we get older, they can worry us more.

There are plenty of things we can do to keep our brain ticking over nicely.

Like any muscle, the more you use it, the stronger it gets.

Here are five simple tips to help you keep your mind sharp.

  1. Give your brain a workout
  2. Spend time with your friends
  3. Eat your veggies
  4. Get moving
  5. Repeat everything

infographic about staying healthy

1. Give your brain a workout

One of the best things you can do for your memory is learn a new skill.

Challenging yourself with something unfamiliar helps to boost your brain cells.

Whether you’d like to learn Spanish or try tai chi, now is as good a time as any to start.

It doesn’t always have to be a huge challenge, either.

Something as simple as a crossword can give your mind a great workout.

Plus, if you join a class or group for your new hobby, you’ll get to meet new people.

2. Spend time with friends – and make new ones

Research shows that socialising is great for your brain.

Talking to friends, old and new, helps to keep it stimulated.

Enjoying yourself with other people is also a big boost for your mental health.

So make the most of the people around you. If you have friends nearby, why not organise a lunch or a day trip?

Or if you’d like to make new friends, try joining a local class.

You can search for them online or check notice boards in your area to see what’s on.

3. Eat your veggies

What you eat can play a big part in keeping your mind sharp.

Try eating more high-fibre foods like vegetables, fruit and wholegrains. They digest slowly, giving your brain and body more energy.

Healthy fats, like the kind in olive oil and fish, have also been found to be good for the brain.

Try choosing low-fat dairy and lean meat, too.

Studies show that the Mediterranean diet, which is high in veggies and unprocessed foods, is a great starting point for a diet that helps your mind and your body.

4. Get moving

It turns out that exercise isn’t just great for your body – it’s great for your brain, too.

In fact, a daily dose of aerobic exercise can help with all kinds of things, like high blood pressure, heart attacks and dementia.

You don’t have to go far or spend lots of money to get fit.

A 30-minute brisk walk is the perfect way to get your heart pumping. Or if you’d rather work out as part of a group, you could join a local club.

Husband and wife, Gary and Liz Glazerman, took up Nordic walking together in later life and have never felt better. Getting your partner to commit with you can really help keep you accountable.

5. Repeat everything

It may seem obvious, but repeating something is one of the easiest ways to remember.

You can try repeating what you’ve heard or seen in your head. But for even better results, say it out loud – or write it down. This will help to make the memory stronger in your mind.

So if you pop your keys down next to the toaster, say to yourself: “the keys are next to the toaster”, or write it in your diary.

You might feel a bit silly at first, but you’ll be glad when you don’t have to spend five minutes looking for your keys!

Sources:

BJSM | Sport England | Live Science | UEL | Science Direct

NHS - Smoking | Health survey | Adult behaviours

The Recovery Village | Harvard | Lifehacker | Science Daily | NBC News | Time | BBC