Why You Should Invest in Brain Training Now for Your Long Term Mental Health – Over 50s Mental Health
When it comes to over 50s mental health, brain training really can help.
We’ve all experienced it – walking into the kitchen to get something only to become rooted to the spot while we desperately wrack our brains trying to remember what it was.
Is it just one of those things, or is it a subtle sign of a more serious decline in what’s known as cognitive ability? The overwhelming probability is that it really is just one of those things. But it does highlight a secondary issue which arises out of this single event. We all think “Why is my mind now so absent”.
Cognitive ability does decline with age. It’s an inescapable fact that as we get older we forget things and the thought process slows down. But that does not necessarily signal or predict the onset of some of the more serious diseases related to mental capacity. Such as dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease, to name just two, which are two of the biggest issues with over 50s mental health.
Experimental evidence is emerging which shows there are two strategies we use which support our mental capabilities as we age well into our sixties, seventies and beyond.
The good news? Those two strategies are free, easy to start and can be fun. And the sooner introduce them into our daily lives the greater the chances of arresting the rate at which our mental capabilities decline with age.
So, what are they? It turns out research has suggested that aerobic exercise and meditation are the two greatest contributors. There’s a lot not known in this exciting area of science but the evidence so far is compelling.
Aerobic fitness improves blood flow to the brain and switches on certain receptors to improve mood. That’s been known for years. We have all experienced the feel good hormones in our bodies following a good gym session or a walk through the country.
What’s relatively new is the effects that applying mindfulness meditation techniques have on our brains and emotions. What is interesting is that people who are under chronic stress situations partly experience those through an area of the brain known as the amygdala, which is active in stressful situations. This seems to suppress the activity in another area of the brain. Known as the pre-frontal cortex’s, one of them attributes to positivism.
Whilst mindfulness meditation does not dial down the amygdala – your fight, flight or also freeze responses to stress. It seems to encourage the pre-frontal cortex to become more active. Which is a counterweight to the actions promoted by the amygdala.
The upshot of all this? Mindfulness meditation clinically alters the mood and cognitive ability of people. And the effects are long lasting. However, like most things in life though, discipline to continue to exercise and to adopt mindfulness practices is key to arresting the decline in our mental functions over the years and also decades.
So, if we really do want to stave off the worst effects of mental decline it really makes sense to start now, as early in our lives as possible. And have the disciplines to keep those practices up.