The Secret That May Slow The Rate Of Cognitive Decline As You Age

As you get older, your body goes through noticeable changes, and this includes your brain. Everyday Health points out that your brain shrinks as it becomes older. Along with that, your brain cells can shrink, and that might result in fewer connections with neural cells. In addition, blood in older brains doesn't flow as quickly as it does in younger brains. Experts think that this is part of what causes cognitive changes that occur as we get older.

Cognitive decline is a concern, especially since the global number of cases of dementia — including Alzheimer's Disease — is expected to triple by 2050, according to the Alzheimer's Association. Everyday Health claims certain lifestyle changes may help fend off cognitive decline. Regular exercise, eating a healthy diet, controlling cholesterol and blood pressure, and drinking and smoking less are a few things that can boost brain health. Research also shows that when you retire might also impact your brain health.

Delaying retirement may boost brain function

Postponing retirement by a few years may be good for your brain, according to a 2021 study. Research conducted by The Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research published in the journal SSM Population Health showed that working to the age of 67 was beneficial for cognitive function. The study examined 20,469 individuals between the ages of 55 and 75 from 1996-2014. The results suggested that remaining on the job helped protect the brain against mental impairment in all genders and races.

The idea is not necessarily being tied to punching a time clock, but more about keeping the brain engaged in learning new things. This can look like many things, including learning and playing different games, working on crossword puzzles, or taking classes. The Harvard Medical School also suggests that when you're learning something new, put some space in between the time you study or practice to improve your memory. Start with reading or learning every few hours, and then move up to every few days. In addition, you should also strive to stay positive and ignore negative stereotypes about aging — enjoy the process of learning something new.