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Smart Ways to Play the Brain Game at 40

By Sandy Schroeder

The middle years are full of challenges, but what about brain health? Researchers say it’s a good time to take steps to keep the brain strong to slow down aging, and enjoy maximum performance.

Here are some things to do from

Game on – A friend of mine is a terror at board games and puzzles. She also runs a demanding business. Her brain never stops working, and she is usually smiling. Video games, board games, puzzles or chess help to keep the brain running strong.

Keep moving – When you help your heart or strengthen your muscles with exercise, you are also increasing blood circulation to bring more oxygen to the brain.  If you sit in front of a computer, take breaks every 20 minutes to move around to wake up your brain.

Fuel your brain – Choose brain foods that contain omega-3, such as salmon, walnuts, Brussels sprouts, or eggs, and high level of antioxidants such as green tea, cranberries, dark chocolate, broccoli and strawberries. At the same time, keep the water coming to avoid dehydration.

Never smoke – Researchers say cigarettes may weaken the parts of the brain that control memory, language and perception.

Keep the laughter coming – Some of the brightest and healthiest people that I know are also the funniest. They always see the funny side and keep everybody else smiling, too. Scientists say laughter reduces stress hormones such as cortisol and epinephrine, and causes the brain to release “feel good” endorphins.

Restore the brain with rest – The brain needs 7 to 9 hours of sleep to sort through all of the commotion of the day and replenish brain chemicals. Sleep deprivation can handicap the brain, impacting work and inviting accidents. 

Make time for getaways – We would never push our cars the way we push our bodies and our brains, demanding that they show up 24/7 to get everything done. Give your brain an afternoon off, or a weekend away with time to just loaf and read, go camping, or do a wilderness walk.

Acquire a furry friend – You may not realize how much a fluffy little gray cat or a fast-moving little dachshund can do for your mental health until they move in and “take over.” Long run, it’s all good, as they always make you laugh after a long day and help to keep you grounded.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Madison, Wis.

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