Fitness is a very broad term that encompasses many factors and variables, so much so that the label of the term “fit” has lost quite a lot of meaning. What we do know is that fitness can be categorized into two classifications: mental and physical. Both are equally important and interdependent, and improving one may often involve inadvertently improving the other. This article will focus on improving mental fitness, which is often the more neglected type. Here are five ways to improve your mental fitness in order to keep your memory and mind sharp for years to come.
It may be a surprise to some that both aerobic and anaerobic exercise helps us stay both mentally as well as physically fit. Just a half an hour of exercise per day can improve mental functions in all age groups, especially in seniors and those who lead a sedentary lifestyle. Exercise supplies more oxygen to the brain, thus promoting cognitive abilities like memory, concentration, and creativity. Exercise has actually been associated with increased brain mass in the prefrontal cortex and the medial temporal cortex.
People often say that reading is a dying hobby, but they’re not entirely correct! Paper books might indeed become more rare, but e-books are being sold by the millions every year. People still understand the benefits of reading, like that it gives you a calmer and stronger mind. To improve your cognitive abilities with reading, try to read a variety of different things, from newspapers to crime novels to poetry. Because it forces concentration and removes distractions, reading before bed is much better for you than staring at a screen. It also strengthens your attention span, which is something many of us lack these days. So when you get the chance, put down that phone and start reading!
As discussed above, the path to a healthy body and mind are intertwined with one another, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that a healthy diet is good for the mind as well as the body. As far as cognition-boosting nutrients is concerned, try to include nuts, salmon, berries, dark chocolate, leafy greens like spinach and broccoli, red wine, coffee, and beans to your meals in order to give your brain a boost.
While nootropics are growing in popularity every year, they’re still a new concept for many. Nootropics, otherwise known as “brain boosters”, are supplements that can benefit your mind in a number of ways, from concentration to memory to creativity and even happiness. Before starting any new supplement, always research potential nootropics side effects as well as checking in with your doctor.
Learn a New Language
Whenever you learn a new language, you’re almost literally expanding your mind! Your brain becomes aware of concepts or ways of explaining the world that you never knew existed. It can be difficult to understand for those who haven’t experienced it, but learning a new language can open up new doors for understanding the world and people around you. As you exercise your cognitive abilities like remembering new words, new neurological connections are formed and the concerned parts of the brain are continuously stimulated. The same applies to learning a new craft or learning to play a new instrument.
Photo by Ian Stauffer