5 Anti-Aging Mind Exercises Everyone Should Practice
We invest in creams promising to keep our skin wrinkle-free and serums purporting to be the fountain of youth, but if your only anti-aging approach is topical, science suggests you’re missing out on one key factor—your mind. A study by the University of Dallas, Texas, found that training your brain with certain activities can rewire your neurons, improve cognitive function, and ward off a ton of age-related issues. What’s more, you’re never too young to start. Keep scrolling for five simple activities that will keep your mind young.
Volunteering is a great way to give back to the community, but a growing body of research suggests it also benefits those lending a hand. According to Best Health magazine, adults who volunteer are both happier and healthier later in life. Yes, joining your local soup kitchen or working at a secondhand charity store isn’t just personally satisfying—it could help you stay mentally fit. One study found that volunteering is linked to stress reduction, memory skill maintenance, and even lower blood pressure.
Looking to boost your mental and physical health? Try ballroom dancing. The combination of physical exercise, cognitive engagement, and social interaction makes this particular type of dancing one of the best activities for brain health. Neuroscientist Dr. Susan Vandermorris tells Best Health, “While all three factors are beneficial alone, together they seem to be the magic bullet.” Learning complicated routines and having to problem-solve during the class makes ballroom dancing the ultimate anti-aging exercise.
It’s well known that staying mentally active is the key to keeping your mind young and sharp, but a recent study by the University of Texas suggests we’re missing one key factor. According to researchers, frequent mental activity isn’t enough. In order to reap the anti-aging benefits, we need to make a concerted effort to go outside our comfort zone. “It seems it is not enough just to get out and do something—it is important to get out and do something that is unfamiliar and mentally challenging, and that provides broad stimulation mentally and socially,” lead researcher Denise Park said in a statement. In other words, doing a Sudoku puzzle each morning could have little impact on your mind health. Instead, switch up your routine by walking a different route to work, playing different brain-training apps, or trying to learn a new language.
Boosting your brain health could be as simple as playing more. Sound too good to be true? A University of Iowa study found that participants were able to delay the natural decline of cognitive skills simply by playing more games for as little as two hours a week. The games don’t have to be specific brain-training apps or puzzles; participants reaped the benefits by playing video games that weren’t mind-related. Yes, there’s now a scientifically backed reason to play more Candy Crush.
When it comes to keeping our mind young, a lot of emphasis is placed on mental or physical activities, but researchers are discovering our diet plays an equally important role. Indeed, studies show that making healthy food decisions doesn’t just benefit your body short-term—it also helps your brain at a cellular level. Keen on adopting an anti-aging diet? Blueberries, kale, and raw nuts score points for their antioxidant content. A Spanish study also found that people who follow a Mediterranean diet rich in plant-based foods, legumes, and olive oil performed better on cognitive tests than those who ate a low-fat diet. The key? Stock up on raw almonds, drizzle salads with olive oil, and opt for more grains and legumes in your meal.
Looking for more ways to keep your mind young? Shop the brain-training apps below, and then visit Best Health Magazine to read more.
How do you keep your mind sharp? Share your tips in the comments.