Train your brain for better health

Train your brain for better health

Adopt these healthy lifestyle habits that stimulate cognitive function. 

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We all hear about the importance of maintaining good physical health. But mental fitness is just as important for overall health. Follow these 10 tips to keep you brain in shape.

  1. Break a few habits
    Simple things like changing your daily routine, taking alternate driving routes or learning a new skill can rewire your brain—in a good way.
  2. Get into the game
    Play card or board games. Do crossword puzzles. Download and play games on your smartphone. Your brain will thank you.
  3. Mix and mingle
    Look for chances to get together with family and friends; take a class; or get out and volunteer to experience new people and settings—especially if you live alone.
  4. Stress less
    Over time, stress can destroy brain cells and damage the part of the brain that creates and recalls memories.
  5. Eat well
    Studies show that people who follow a Mediterranean diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains, plus low-fat proteins like fish, lean meat and skinless poultry, are less likely to have Alzheimer’s.
  6. Watch the alcohol
    Too much can contribute to confusion and memory loss.1
  7. Move your body
    Regular exercise boosts neuroplasticity: your brain’s ability to think, remember and adapt.
  8. Pursue overall health
    Follow your doctor's recommendations for conditions like depression, high blood pressure, diabetes, and kidney or thyroid problems.
  9. Catch more Zs
    Sleep gives your brain the time to gather and store your memories effectively. Shoot for seven to nine hours of sleep a night.
  10. Know your meds
    Some prescription or even over-the-counter medicines can affect memory and mental sharpness.2 Inform your doctor about everything you’re taking, and any issues you might be having.

Source: The Mayo Clinic, except where noted.

  1. White, Aaron M., PhD. What Happened? Alcohol, Memory Blackouts, and the Brain. NIH, Alcohol Research & Health. 2003;27(2): 186-96.
  2. Chavant F, Favrelière S, Lafay-Chebassier C, Plazanet C, Pérault-Pochat MC. Memory disorders associated with consumption of drugs: updating through a case/noncase study in the French PharmacoVigilance Database. Br J Clin Pharmacol. 2011 Dec;72(6):898-904. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2125.2011.04009.x. PMID: 21557759; PMCID: PMC3244635