It’s widely accepted that the brain naturally slows down as we get older - yet, brain scans of some seniors show similar results to those of 20 and 30-year olds. How is this possible?

All signs point to the daily habits of those seniors. A healthy lifestyle is the best way to keep your mind sharp during the aging process. Despite the false stereotypes that cognitive decline is inevitable as you age, studies suggest that adopting healthy habits could significantly reduce your risk of dementia.

To keep your brain healthy, follow these healthy habits every day:

Stay Social

Social isolation and depression caused by loneliness can increase your dementia risk by as much as 50 percent. Spending time with family and friends is important for any aging adult.

Focus on building long-term relationships with people that can satisfy your social needs. Ensure that you can trust them in case you need to open up and tell them something personal that is bothering you.

And if socializing in-person isn’t possible, it may help to connect with someone online. A 2017 study found that seniors who learned to use Facebook scored higher on memory tests than older adults that didn’t use Facebook.


Stress is a natural part of life, but learning how to manage this stress can work wonders for your brain. Relaxation and reducing stress has been found to be a major factor for those older adults with no signs of dementia.

Meditation is a great way to accomplish this. Besides other major health benefits, studies have found that meditation helps seniors stay focused.

Another great de-stressor is music. As an added bonus, music can be listened to with friends, which can double as social interaction!

Active Aging

Possibly the best way to keep feeling young as you age is to stay physically active. Not only are there endless physical benefits to exercise, there are also a number of mental benefits.

There is overwhelming evidence proving that working out increases Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF), a protein that is vital for growing and keeping neurons. Exercise can also prevent brain inflammation, which has been linked to causing Alzheimer’s.

The benefits of active aging multiply when you add a cognitive challenge like playing sports or dancing as well. Combine a cardio workout with music and some socialization a few times a week and you’ll play an important part in helping prevent cognitive decline.

Brain Food

Eating healthy is just as important as staying active. The Mediterranean diet, a popular “brain food” diet, includes fish, fruit, vegetables, nuts, and olive oil. It focuses on limiting red meat and has been shown to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s by as much as 40 percent.

So far, there is more supporting evidence for the Mediterranean diet than any other diet. However, another potential candidate is the Mind diet, which is just a variation of the Mediterranean. It further prioritizes foods that may be important to brain health, including berries and leafy vegetables.

One of the most popular theories as to why diets may protect the brain is that they improve cardiovascular health. Thus, lowering blood sugar, and lowering the risk of Alzheimer’s.

Set Goals

Setting and pursuing life goals has been associated with a 30% reduction in dementia. Setting goals can not only help you grow and thrive, but can also help you stay sharp as you age by keeping the mind engaged and focused.

Whether it’s writing a book, pursuing a satisfying job, attending an education program, or practicing a hobby, you could keep your mind cognitively active by setting goals and sticking to them. Chasing your goals and doing what you love can help you stay happy, healthy, and sharp.

Adequate Sleep

The final major habit is getting enough sleep. Sleep is absolutely essential for a healthy brain and inadequate amounts of it can cause cognitive decline as early as age 50.

Although it isn’t completely understood why inadequate sleep increases your dementia risk, scientists believe it relates to Beta Amyloid. This is the deposition of the Alzheimer’s protein that our bodies produce during the day.

This protein is harmful if it stays in your body for too long. When we sleep, our brain cells shrink, allowing more space for the harmful beta amyloid to be “flushed out.” And thus, reducing your risk of Alzheimer’s.

Author's Bio: 

Marina Pal is a renowned author and social media enthusiast.