Brain health

Brain Health

knowing how to turn your brain on and off

Active 24 hours a day, the brain never stops. It feeds on the sensory, intellectual and emotional stimuli provided by work, social relations and leisure. These are the best anti-aging creams! But we must give the brain time to memorize and sometimes limit activities that are too directed or avoid excess.

Aging of the brain: inflammation factors

Unsurprisingly, smoking, alcohol, a sedentary lifestyle or being overweight interfere with the functioning of the brain. They create chronic inflammation that affects the brain. Poor quality sleep, stress and pollution are also regularly accused of causing cognitive, emotional and memory disorders. Lack of sleep causes damage to brain performance. It generates stress, which can lead to depression by a cascade effect. Depression is a disease to fight because it is dangerous for the brain and longevity. However, antidepressants cannot suffice if the original lifestyle is not challenged.

Keys to good brain health

Meditation and Yoga

Meditation slows down the aging process in the brain, according to a 2017 Inserm study. In question, a greater activity in two regions of the frontal cortex which are better preserved because more stimulated. The same mechanisms are seen with yoga.

How to put your brain on pause? Switching off to refocus on yourself reduces stress, anxiety, negative emotions and sleep problems. Enough to preserve the deleterious effects of age and improve cognitive performance.

Beneficial activities for the brain accessible to all

How does sport act on the brain? What is the effect of physical activity on the brain? Physical activity has a proven protective effect on memory decline and the risk of developing dementia. The benefits of physical activity on the brain have been shown. Some activities more than others!

Walking, known for its benefits on the cardiovascular system, also promotes irrigation of the brain through a physiological process: the pump effect when you set your foot on the ground.

Singing, learning or practicing an instrument, being in a choir: these are activities that call for neural connections different from those that are used on a daily basis, by promoting the exchange of information between two cerebral hemispheres. This helps to stimulate memory.

Dancing is a physical activity but also requires memorizing choreographies and coordinating movements. It is a very comprehensive activity. In couple dances (tango, salsa, etc.) or in groups, there is a relational dimension, which is important for keeping your brain connected to the world.

Gardening is also well seen by the brain. A 36% drop in the risk of dementia is seen in people who garden daily. The sight of plants reduces physiological symptoms linked to stress (muscle tension, blood pressure, rebalancing of the heart rate, etc.). No garden? Get closer to your municipality and surrounding associations to take care of a shared garden!

Maintain your senses to maintain your brain

Sensory disturbances of sight and hearing cause memory decline because they end up isolating. You should never delay in compensating for hearing and visual losses as soon as they appear. Do not overlook the importance of early detection of hearing and vision disorders from the age of 50/60!

Why is activity the key to brain health?

Physical activity has great virtues that are often overlooked: walking, dancing, running, everything is good for oxygenating the brain. Exercise increases blood flow and provides it with more nutrients. This increases the ability to concentrate. The proof is that by walking we find solutions, we make decisions! Daily walking has been found to reduce the risk of dementia by 38%.

Why do you have to both activate and unplug your brain?

The pitfall is excess: when you end up seeing sleep as a waste of time! Or sensory hyperstimulation (smartphone, tablet and other screens) before going to bed, which delays the time to fall asleep and impairs the quality of sleep. Same thing for the sport, it is better to practice it around 6-8 pm, then dinner, and relax before going to bed. Disconnecting from constraints and machines also allows you to reconnect to the present moment, to your own body, through meditation for example. Be careful, however, not to make meditation or yoga an additional activity in a schedule that leaves no respite. All the profit would be lost!

Why are social activities the best?

We absolutely must fight against the impoverishment of social contacts! Without solicitation from the outside world, without daily exchanges, the senses are less stimulated, which can lead to a loss of autonomy. Living alone rarely rhymes with well-being and quality of life. To age well, the important thing is to remain curious, open to others, to the things around us, even if that also depends on your character. This can go through associative and voluntary activity. Helping your neighbor, supporting a loved one, a neighbor, reduces your own stress, and therefore improves brain function. Positive emotions are the key, and better health in general.