How keeping busy could keep your brain young
When you were younger and life was hectic, you figured you could slow down later.
Now that you're older, life's as hectic as ever... and you don't think you'll ever slow down.
You're not just busy. Sometimes, it can seem like you're just a little TOO busy -- wishing for more hours in the day just so you could get everything done.
Well, my friend, if that sounds familiar, I've got some good news for you today: The busier you are... the better your brain!
New research shows how keeping a full schedule is good for your mind, enhancing your memory, and boosting your overall cognition. And if you manage to keep yourself busy well into your senior years, you just might be able to prevent Alzheimer's disease.
Researchers asked 330 folks between the ages of 50 and 89 how busy they were and how many activities they crammed into each day. They were even asked if being busy ever caused them to miss or delay meals.
Then, the folks were given memory tests -- and, amazingly, the researchers found that age didn't matter much when it came to results.
But their level of busyness did.
Folks who kept busy did better on tests that measured key brain functions including processing speeds, reasoning and vocabulary, according to the study published in Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience.
In particular, busy people did better on tests of episodic memory -- or the ability to remember stuff from the past.
So if you're older and life hasn't slowed down for you, don't sweat it. Embrace it!
If you haven't been all that busy, don't feel pressure to pack more activity into your day than you can handle. Just do what you can to keep active and engaged.
Get out with your friends, join a club, take up a hobby or -- better yet -- do some volunteer work.
The key is to keep busy doing things you like, not in keeping busy with stuff that causes you stress -- because stress can lead to other problems, including increased inflammation and heart risk.
And of course don't count on a busy schedule alone to save your brain.
You need to do more.
Your brain function relies on getting the right nutrients in, and keeping the bad stuff out.
Sugar in your food can rush through your bloodstream and into the brain, where it can leave behind lasting damage -- which is why high blood sugar in diabetics and non-diabetics alike will increase your risk of cognitive decline and dementia.
So keep sugar out, and put the good stuff in: B vitamins, fish oil and -- as I shared earlier today -- curcumin.