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Mental Decline

The New “Normal” of Brain Aging

Author: NeuroGym Team | 2022

Every year, you have a birthday. You become older which means you also experience brain aging.

Emotionally, you might not like the idea of age progression. You might even ignore it in the hopes that it will go away, but it won’t.

Aging is a reality.

Whether you celebrate each passing year or ignore it doesn’t matter. What’s more important is how you age.

It can either happen productively, or you can simply wither away. We prefer the former option, and you should, too.

Perceptions and Assumptions About Aging and the Brain

When you think of getting older or the elderly, what thoughts come to mind?

Is it frailty, forgetfulness, and cognitive decline? Or is it vitality and life well lived?

Throughout our lives, we are taught things, and this causes perceptions and assumptions about getting older. Let’s look at two of these ideas that aren’t quite right.

At My Age…

The first statement you might have heard is, “At my age…” followed by some kind of sentiment. It could be that hearing isn’t as it should be, that the person has learned a lot, or another popular one: You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.

These ideas could have a hint of truth, but that last part is entirely wrong. You never stop learning no matter how old you are.

There is always the possibility to change your life and what you know as you age.

You could be teaching your parents how to use social media which didn’t exist when they were younger so just imagine what your kids and grandchildren could teach you in the future.

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Forgetfulness Is Considered Normal

Another idea that is always present is that forgetfulness is part of aging. This is a misconception.

Just because you become older doesn't mean you will forget things. There could be other reasons for forgetfulness like stress or a degenerative disease.

Never consider anything as a “normal” part of aging because it might not be; instead, question the change in your behavior and seek out the truth.

Knowledge Is Power

Distinguishing between what is normal and what is a myth as you age can be a challenge. You won’t know the truth if you don’t learn about it.

Make the decision today to not take anything about getting older at face value. Rather, educate yourself about life and every stage of it.

One way to learn more about aging is to understand how your brain works since everything you do is triggered by it. Attend the Brain-A-Thon to find out how you can use your brain optimally.

Brain Changes as You Grow Older

Scientists continuously study the brain, how it works, and how it changes over time. It’s crucial because the global population is aging, and we need treatments to address it.

Changing Over Time

As you age, your brain undergoes many changes. Its structure, function, and chemicals alter slightly.

All of these things are important to know but have required decades of research. It’s the best way for neuroscientists to stay on top of things and understand the brain better.

After 60

More changes in the brain occur after the age of 60, but this doesn’t mean getting older creates a weaker mental state.

Your brain becomes slightly smaller as you grow older. It’s characterized by weaker blood flow and fewer hormones in the brain.

Neurotransmitters also have less activity. Communication between synapses (the pathways for brain communication) also becomes a bit weaker.

All of this may seem a bit dire, but it isn’t that bad at all.

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The New Normal for Brain Aging

The latest research on the brain and aging indicates that neuron loss isn’t as great as scientists thought initially. In fact, it’s not that big of a deal at all.

Researchers now believe that the little brain alteration that does occur shouldn’t have a significant effect on your quality of life.

That being said, if forgetfulness or “It’s just my age” are words you or others utter, then it could indicate another cognitive problem entirely.

Brain Diseases

Dementia and Alzheimer’s are the best-known forms of brain degeneration. Alzheimer’s is a form of dementia, but dementia in itself is not a natural part of aging.

The symptoms of these diseases—memory loss, attention problems, difficulty finding the right words, struggling with time and place, and changes in mood—are all things that should be taken seriously, as they could indicate a progressive disease.

If you have any of these symptoms, it’s better to see your general practitioner and ask them to check up on your brain. It’s not nice to admit that there might be a problem, but it’s the best way to get certainty and allows you to take the necessary precautions earlier.

Mental Decline

A tiny bit of mental decline, usually through neuron loss, will happen, but it shouldn’t affect your quality of life.

Unfortunately, it’s quite difficult to know exactly when this decline will start. It’s something that has baffled scientists for years because each study has its own findings.

Some studies have shown that people in their 20s and 30s could experience cognitive decline. Other studies indicate the decline is more likely in your 50s or 60s.

One thing is certain though: Scientists agree that brain decline is possible but not such a big issue.

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Understand Your Brain Better

Understanding your brain and its inner workings is essential if you want to age better. Learn all about your brain, neurons, and how all the parts work together at the Brain-A-Thon.

It’s an amazing opportunity to improve yourself and change your life no matter what age you are. Book your space today.

You’re Never Too Old to Learn Something New

There is something you can do to slow down mental aging: exercise your brain.

The more you use your brain, the more you strengthen the connections between the neurons. It allows you to use your mind more optimally.

The best way to do this is by building productive habits. It doesn’t have to be hard work. Start with small changes that are impossible to fault and then build on these habits to improve yourself even more.

The video below will give you a bit more of an idea about what is possible:

Scientists suggest the following six areas can help you improve your brain health:

Exercise

Movement allows oxygen to pump through your body and helps you think clearly. It also allows you to use different parts of your brain together.

Start with small changes like walking 5,000 steps a day and adding 500 steps every week until you reach 10,000 steps daily. Another option is to cycle for 15 minutes daily or join a weekly exercise class.

Eat Healthily

What you eat directly affects your cognitive abilities. Maintaining a healthy diet improves clear thinking while junk food can damage your brain.

Adopt a diet that feeds your brain with essential nutrients. Some researchers suggest the Mediterranean diet for individuals at risk of brain diseases.

Manage Your Stress

Stress causes many health problems including mental ones. It affects your thinking and makes you perform poorly.

Decreasing your stress levels is essential. Try meditating, journaling, or seeing a therapist to help you manage any stressors in your life. Even everyday activities that bring you joy can be huge stress relievers.

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Get Enough Sleep

Sleep allows your body and mind to rest. If you don’t get enough rest, then you can’t function optimally.

Ensure you get at least eight hours of sleep daily so that your brain is ready for a productive day. Establish a good bedtime routine and stick to it.

Socialize

Social interaction activates different areas of the brain, excites a person, and helps you to think. It allows you to consider the world from other people’s perspectives and teaches you new things.

Add social events to your calendar as if they were business meetings. Arrange a date with your partner, meet your friends for dinner, or join a business network where you can get to know new people.

Train Your Brain

Learning allows your brain to form new neural pathways. It makes it stronger and keeps it active as synapses fire away to help you build cognitive connections.

Learning can be done easily. Use a new recipe for dinner, learn a skill that interests you, and read. Sign up for a short course, watch a documentary, or play board games to get your creative juices flowing.

It’s Time to Learn

Get to know your brain better so that you think differently about aging and can pick up on strange symptoms earlier on. If you can spot signs of problems earlier on, then you can take action sooner.

It’s the best way to stay on top of things and keep your body, mind, and soul healthy.

By joining us at the Brain-A-Thon, you will learn about all this and much more. You will get all the tools and techniques to get the most from your brain and so much more!

About The Author

NeuroGym Team

NeuroGym Team: NeuroGym’s Team of experts consists of neuroscientists, researchers, and staff who are enthusiasts in their fields. The team is committed to making a difference in the lives of others by sharing the latest scientific findings to help you change your life by understanding and using the mindset, skill set and action set to change your brain.

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