Sunday, August 28, 2011

Aging Gracefully

With more advance and better health care, people today are living longer than our forefathers. But you hope to age gracefully with all mental and physical well-being still intact, at least to a certain healthy degree. Living to a ripe old age in a state of senile dementia, such as the dreaded Alzheimer's disease, takes the joy out of living for you as well as your loved ones.

According to latest research, if you lead an active and stimulating life in your younger days, you not only get a fit and healthy body but also a healthy mind.

Aah, so your weekly runs, whether in the park or on treadmills, are a kind of insurance for healthy aging after all. Fret not for those who really cannot come up with a time-table for regular exercises or those who dislike exercises of any kind, there are other ways to prevent total memory meltdown.

Your brain is just like the muscles in your body. It loves exercises. Brain exercise can be simple and yet stimulating. Good examples include doing the ubiquitous crossword puzzles or the challenging sudoku puzzles. Have an intimate and bonding moment with your children or even grandchildren by playing Scrables or chess, and stimulate your brain juice at the same time.

It is not surprising to hear of grandad or even grandma enrolling in college for that degree they do not have time or money for when they were younger. Actually, learning or trying something new is said to stimulate the brain, keeping it sharp and alert. Maybe you can encourage grandad to learn another language, or better still, learn it together. Sounds fun indeed.

Playing strategy games such as the ancient Chinese game of mahjong which involves a whole set of your brain muscles as you try to plot and outwit your other game players. Great for your social life too as most mahjong players joke and chatter as they play.

Stress would not be good for your aging brain. Meditation is highly recommended to de-stress the mind, giving it some peace and quietness to relax.

If you can fit in some physical exercise such as a leisurely walk in the park, it will do wonders for your tired mind. Your brain cells get more oxygen and this results in better concentration. Make sure you feed your brain the right kind of food too, such as salmon, rich in omega fatty acids. So is green tea with its high antioxidants content.

Yes, it is possible to reduce the risk of senile dementia and Alzheimer's disease by feeding your brain with the right food, exercise and stimulation, starting when you were still young and healthy. A healthy body begets a healthy mind.

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