Aging changes the way your body functions, and that includes your brain health. While you can exercise and eat well to have some control over physical changes, you can keep your brain young by adopting certain habits and lifestyle changes. Use these apps, resources, and tips to help challenge your mind and keep your brain young.
1. Stimulate Your Brain
Keeping your mind active is one of the best ways to maintain and improve cognitive function. A study published in Aging Research Reviews stated that mentally stimulating activities improved some aspects of cognitive performance in older adults. With apps such as Elevate, Lumosity, NeuroNation, and Duolingo, you can train your brain effectively.
Elevate is an award-winning app that helps you improve a wide range of mental skills. It uses fun mini-games that target skills like memory, math, vocabulary, and comprehension. You also get a comprehensive skill assessment report that you can improve over time. Elevate is research-backed and has proven effective for many long-term users.
Lumosity and NeuroNation help improve your problem-solving skills using a similar gamified approach. Learning a new language also provides high mental stimulation. Apps like Duolingo make the process of language learning much easier. The illustrations and native pronunciation in Duolingo can help you learn a new language while improving your cognitive abilities.
2. Focus on Fitness
Physical activity is crucial to improving your brain health. A study in Developmental Neurorehabilitation has shown that physical activity can enhance memory and help produce new neurons. However, starting and following a fitness routine is quite challenging. Thus, fitness apps and trackers can be helpful tools.
While there are several workout apps to choose from, 7 Minute Workout is perfect for beginners. It has a simple interface that lets you pick any challenge and complete a workout in seven minutes. You can increase the difficulty of the exercises as you get better.
Along with strength training, aerobic exercises such as running, swimming, and cycling are great for your body and mind. On your next run, try out the Map My Run app. It is one of the most popular running applications that accurately tracks your runs and can sync data from your fitness wearables.
Additionally, it gives you real-time haptic updates about your run. Features such as personalized training plans, audio feedback, and live location tracking make it one of the best running apps. Fitness trackers such as the Fitbit Inspire 3, Garmin watches, and the Apple Watch measure your performance, sleep, and wellness. Therefore, fitness trackers can motivate you and keep you accountable.
3. Practice Calorie Restriction
Intermittent fasting is a popular form of calorie restriction with several health benefits. A study published in the CMLS journal states that calorie restriction can increase longevity and even prevent age-related diseases in mammals. If you’re new to fasting, several web resources and mobile apps can guide you through your fasting journey.
The 21-Day Hero website is a useful resource for fasting. You can learn about evidence-based fasting techniques, tips for creating a fasting schedule, and daily meal plans. This website covers in-depth guides for different fasting types such as the 16:8 method, detox fasting, anabolic fasting, and more.
Additionally, you can try a mobile fasting tracker such as Zero. Zero is an Android and iOS app that makes tracking your fasts and well-being easier. It also accommodates keto, vegan, paleo, and low-carb diets.
You can set customized timers, access detailed statistics from fitness wearables, track your mood, and learn about fasting. Zero also adds gamification to fasting using reward badges. That makes it more fun and easier to follow.
4. Build Social Networks
Maintaining healthy social ties is an essential component of mental health. That becomes more relevant as you age. A 2020 study in the Journals of Gerontology has shown that social engagement may be useful in improving cognition and protecting against dementia.
Meetup is one of the best resources to interact with like-minded people and engage in a hobby. Whether you want to explore the outdoors, play board games, or participate in a book club, there’s likely to be a group for your interests that you can join.
Additionally, Meetup has a section dedicated to making new friends. Here, you can find all upcoming events and filter them based on your interests. If you work remotely, this can help with loneliness and give you a happiness boost.
Bumble BFF is another service that can help you build a healthy social life. It is a popular friend-matching app that connects people with similar interests. You can chat and get to know someone on the app before meeting them in person. Bumble BFF offers a great way of building meaningful connections.
5. Keep Anxiety Away
Maintaining a self-care routine for your mental health is essential. While in-person therapy is ideal for some people, it is also expensive and sometimes inconvenient. Telehealth and self-care apps can be extremely helpful and much more convenient.
Talkspace is one of the best remote therapy services that offer low-cost sessions with a licensed therapist. Apart from individual therapy, you can also explore couples therapy, teen therapy, and psychiatric help. Talkspace also accepts some insurance plans, making it even more cost-effective.
Self-care apps such as Rootd and Wysa are great options for everyday anxiety management. Rootd has several features that calm you down during anxious episodes. For example, the Rootr feature is a panic button that, when pressed, uses CBT techniques to help you deal with panic attacks on the spot. You can also try out breathing exercises, journaling, and visualization to stay grounded and feel less anxious.
Focus on Physical and Mental Fitness
Consistent and deliberate action is important for lasting results. Like physical changes, improvement in cognition is a long and ongoing process. Therefore, remain patient and focus on building better habits.
Start with daily strength training exercises and brain-stimulating games. Set daily reminders for yourself and track your performance over time to motivate you to maintain your self-care streak. With these apps and resources, you can challenge your brain and help keep it strong.