A healthy brain means a healthy you

What do solving crosswords, eating vegetables, practising yoga and learning French all have in common?

Hand on a fishing reel. The person is fly fishing in a river with beautiful big trees in the background.

It’s been claimed they can all help keep your brain healthy and slow down the ageing process. 
Unfortunately, the experts differ on which is the most effective but most seem to agree that a balance of mind and body activities are likely to keep your brain healthy.And a healthy alert brain enables you to get the most out of life and can make all the difference to how much you enjoy your retirement.     

Top tips to keep your brain healthy

1. Keep active

Regular moderate exercise, whether it’s walking, bicycling, yoga, golf or whatever takes your fancy is important to give your brain an oxygen boost. Experts generally recommend 30 minutes a day but it can be in three 10 minute blocks. If you need motivation, consider adopting a dog who needs a regular walk.

2. Exercise your mind

Crosswords and puzzles suit some people but you can exercise your mind in many other ways such as learning something new like a new language, painting, singing or a new computer program. Any mentally stimulating activity helps such as playing cards or chess, reading, answering quiz shows and taking part in new pursuits.

3. Eat well

While the popularity of kale and beetroot may come and go, nutritionists agree that most Australians don’t eat enough fruit and vegetables. The Australian dietary guidelines recommend that adults eat at least five kinds of vegetable and two kinds of fruit every day. Studies have shown that those people who eat a Mediterranean style of diet with the emphasis on fruit, vegetables, fish, nuts, olive oil and plant sources of protein are less likely to develop cognitive impairment and dementia. Make sure your diet is balanced, avoid processed foods, salt and sugar and drink enough water. 

4. Develop your social network

Mixing with other people can be one of the best ways to enhance your chances of keeping your brain healthy. Social activities that are mental and physical can be a great way of bringing together the best of all words – meeting new friends and strengthening existing friendships, sharing a new or on-going interest and challenging yourselves. 

If you’re not sure where to start check out organisations such as:

  • Australian Men’s Shed Association www.mensshed.org
  • University of the Third Age which has about 300 groups around the country with about 100,000 members  
  • Govolunteer.com.au 
  • Local council for book clubs, choirs, theatre groups, gardening clubs and numerous other opportunities

5. Commonsense

There are a few obvious things you can easily do which are basically commonsense but they all help slow down the ageing process:

  • get enough sleep
  • don’t smoke
  • don’t drink too much alcohol
  • boost your memory by paying attention and creating memory triggers
  • look after your mental health.

Your financial health

While we can’t help guide you with your brain health, TelstraSuper Financial Planning can help you with your financial health. If you need help planning out your long-term retirement savings you can book in to see a TelstraSuper Financial Planning Adviser. To book an appointment call 1300 033 166 or fill in the online form to get a call back. 

SPEAK TO AN ADVISER

References:
Dementia Australia: yourbrainmatters.org,au
BetterHealth Channel: www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au
Harvard Medical School: https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/12-ways-to-keep-your-brain-young