Keep a Healthy Mind

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7 proven ways to protect against cognitive decline

If you’re nearing old age, or have a family history of dementia, you’ve probably started to wonder, “What can I do to keep my mind healthy as I grow old?” 

Of course, there’s only so much anyone can do to protect against cognitive decline. Genetics and other factors outside our control play such a big role.

But it turns out there are certain things that do make a difference. Researchers have identified some straightforward strategies to stave off cognitive decline as a person grows older. 


And it turns out, keeping church and prayer commitments is an important part of it. 

Here are 7 things you can do now to protect your brain as you age. (You might be pleasantly surprised to find that you’re already doing some of them!)

  1. Take a walk
    Regularly going on a walk is one of the most reliable ways to keep your brain sharp as you age. Enjoy a scenic forest path, or simply stroll your neighborhood!

  2. Spend time with your friends
    While you’re walking, invite a friend along. Maintaining strong social networks is linked to slower cognitive decline.

  3. Read a book
    Frequent reading is protective of cognitive function in later life. Consider joining or starting a book club to get the benefits of friendship and reading at the same time!

  4. Spend time with your family
    Living near family as you age imparts 4 to 6 years of extra life expectancy, and it’s good for your grandchildren or great-grandchildren, who have lower rates of mortality and lower rates of disease. This is called the “grandmother effect.”

  5. Keep holy the Sabbath
    Belonging to a faith-based community and attending services about 4 times a month “is worth between four and 14 extra years of life expectancy.” Who knew going to church was so good for you? 

  6. Talk to God
    Praying regularly is associated with lower risk of mild cognitive impairment.

  7. Eat fish and vegetables
    A Mediterranean diet has been associated with longevity for a long time. Now researchers have found that it’s specifically the prevalence of fish and vegetables in this diet that is so beneficial.