You know to stay physically active because it keeps your bones and muscles strong and healthy as you get older. However, did you know that it’s just as important to keep your brain active as you age? Studies show that an active brain can help ward off such diseases as Alzheimer’s or dementia. Keep reading for everything you need to know.

When to Start

It’s a good idea to keep your brain active from the very beginning, but studies show that it’s especially important during your mid-life years, between the ages of 40 and 65. It’s vital to keep your brain healthy, along with your body by engaging in a variety of activities that keep both active.

Thinking Activities

One of the best ways to keep your brain active is to use and challenge it as much as you can. This strengthens the brain’s cells and also encourages new connections, which offers a sort of “back-up” for when brain cells start to die. Talking to friends and family members, learning to play an instrument, painting, and crafting are great ideas. Online stimulation can be fun, with options like playing card games such as solitaire and poker, or the free games that come pre-installed on your laptop/computer. There’s also taking a class in photography, woodworking or something else that interests you.

Physical Fitness

Keeping your body physically fit also helps protect the brain. Aim for 30 minutes most days of the week. Dancing, biking, jogging, and swimming are good options. Staying at a healthy weight keeps your blood pressure in check, which is also good for brain health.

Eat Right

Your diet is another important part of good brain health. Avoid junk food as much as possible and focus on omega-3 fatty acids, fruits, vegetables, and a variety of foods from each of the food groups. Also, be sure you get a regular check-up to assess your brain health each year.