How To Stop Your Brain From Ageing
Research has shown time and again that people who are moderate exercisers (not the marathon kinds), have a social circle of family and friends, holiday often, are likely to age better, live longer and keep their brains sharp for a long long time, warding off dementia and Alzheimer’s
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Every morning around 7.30, I see Salim Khan walk down the Bandstand promenade with a coterie of friends and followers who aren’t interested in Khan’s superstar son. Instead, they discuss politics, the state of the promenade, the problems of those keeping the promenade clean, including family issues, over a long walk, balmy sea breeze and coconut water. Khan is 80. And he remembers the names of the staff that keep the promenade clean, their health issues and their kids’ names.
Around us, we see a marked difference in the way we all are ageing. Some of us look youthful, are reaching an experimental state with our health in terms of wanting to start running marathons or going for treks or travelling more or planning a house by the beach or in the hills. The mark of this mid-life actually decides which way you’ll go when you’re older. Research has shown time and again that people who are moderate exercisers (not the marathon kinds), have a social circle of family and friends, holiday often, are likely to age better, live longer and keep their brains sharp for a long long time, warding off dementia and Alzheimer’s. So what are the golden rules for slowing down your brain’s ageing? Here you go, make sure you tear this page out and put it on your pin board!
Go for a walk with yourself: Being healthy doesn’t necessarily mean hitting the gym. Forty minutes of walk four days a week is a good cardio to keep the heart healthy and brain sharp. Make sure you leave your phone at home unless you want to listen to the music on it, walk at a medium pace and look around you. Observe what’s happening around you, smile at the people passing by while you still have your teeth, notice how many people are struggling to take simple steps because their aching joints resist the exercise. Revel in the now. The effects of this kind of a walk go far beyond a cardio session and reach meditative levels. It calms your brain, body, pacifies tensed nerve endings and helps you get a perspective outside your phone, office and laptop, which refreshes your brain cells.
Do power yoga: Build up slowly, take two months to get your flexibility and rhythm, and then just twice a week do some serious suryanamashkars. Start with five, build up to 20-30 or as per the state of your back. Remember: yoga has to be built up gently, I have seen many cases of slipped discs of people who were in a hurry to get to the suryanamashkar stage and their backs collapsed. Suryanamashkars, just twice a week, strengthen all the organs inside the body, and help you stay supple. The brain remains active because balance is the key. Anyone who has good balance will have fewer memory issues. So build your balance via vrikshasana, veerbhadraasna before you start suryanamashkars.
Eat a brain diet: High quantities of good fats like egg yolks (no they don’t raise cholesterol), extra virgin olive oil, a handful of nuts and seeds protect brain damage and reverse even chronic depression. Combine that with raw salads, fresh seasonal fruits and lean proteins like tofu, oily fish, small quantities of complex carbohydrates, 2-3 cups of green tea, and you have a sharp brain that goes tick-tock-tick-tock all the time!
Take a coffee break: This one is my favourite. If you don’t have any underlying medical condition like arrhythmia or hypertension, a cup of black coffee twice a day decreases the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s substantially. So sip some, while I reach out for mine.
Sleep it: The best way to make your memory sharp? Eight hours of sleep!
Follow all the above, and meet me a year later, and I will quiz you on what you followed and what you didn’t. Whoever gets the right answers, will get a lifetime of happy memories and agility!
This article was published in BW Businessworld issue dated 'Sept. 5, 2016' with cover story titled 'New Age Classroom'
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