We put a lot of effort into keeping our bodies fit and strong: we go to the gym, we work out at home, we eat all the right foods and do exercises that target special groups of muscles. We bend over backwards to stay fit, but when it comes to mental fitness, we aren’t as flexible or as dedicated. While it’s noted that people who work out on a regular basis have a higher level of mental agility, focusing on mental fitness will bring you many benefits.
Improve your mental fitness
You can easily prevent memory loss by doing simple exercises, seeing that your brain is similar to a muscle: if you don’t flex it often, it will lose its strength. Read as much as you can: read newspapers, books, and magazines, and engage in stimulating conversations with other people. Do crossword puzzles and other word games such as Scrabble, or you can try numbers and do a bit of Sudoku. Learning a new language is also a great way to improve your memory, and playing chess will challenge not only your memory, but your intellect too.
Helps you relax
It happened to us all: we get into our bed after a long and stressful day and we can’t wait to fall asleep, but even though our bodies are tired, our minds refuse to go to ‘sleep mode’. There are different techniques to help you relax and calm down, making it easier for you to fall asleep, and visualization is the most popular one. When you picture certain scene or a location, it calms you down and helps your mind relax. When you think about peace and serenity, your mind puts away the stress and the worries and you calm down mentally.
Boosts your memory
This might come as a surprise, but good memory is a learned skill, and one you can improve too. First, pay attention to what you’re doing. Multitasking is all fun and games until you’re so preoccupied with talking on the phone and picking up the trash that you forget where you put your house keys. When meeting new people, link their names to a mental picture: Sarah dancing, Craig fishing, or Susan cooking spaghetti.
Helps you avoid mental illness
One of the things people fear the most about getting old is suffering from dementia and Alzheimer’s. Bupa Blueroom defines dementia as a set of symptoms which result from a brain deterioration, and Alzheimer’s is the main cause of it. Many of the conditions that affect brain function, such as depression and dementia, can be managed effectively if you make diet and lifestyle changes and monitor your cholesterol, hypertension, and diabetes. Instead of worrying that you will suffer from dementia and depression, you can do plenty of things which will help you prevent it from happening.
The importance of physical fitness
Mental and physical fitness are closely connected, and the more you work out, the better your mind works. Seeing as how certain conditions that affect the ability of your brain to function, such as a stroke, are closely connected to the sedentary lifestyle, diet, and obesity, keeping your body as well as your mind active becomes crucial. With just half an hour of moderate exercise a day, you will boost your brain’s oxygen levels, and even exercising in three 10-minute blocks makes a difference in your overall health. You don’t have to start weightlifting, simply walking, jogging, riding a bike or swimming will do you good and give great results.
The mind-body connection is strong and powerful, and just as you focus on exercises that keep your body strong and fit, you should do the same for your mind. Mental fitness shouldn’t be neglected, seeing that it’s as equally important as physical fitness. A strong and healthy body and a sharp mind are closely connected, and you will be able to keep your health and independence as you age.