An active mind and an active body are important throughout life but are especially significant during the retirement years. Retirement should not be limited to relaxation and lounging. Keeping mentally and physically fit, proper nutrition, weight control, limiting alcohol, elimination of smoking and interactions with family and friends should all be part of a retirement plan.
While some cognitive functions may begin to slow as we age, the mind can adapt and the ability to learn and change remains throughout one’s life.
Physical activity directly affects the mind by providing a more oxygen rich flow to the brain, and decreases heart rate, blood pressure and cholesterol. Physical activity can contribute to improved memory, prevention of depression, prevention or slowing of dementia, increased energy and improved mental functionality.
Mental activities including stimulating games, conversational interactions with others, learning new things, reading and writing all contribute to rejuvenating existing or establishing new connections in the brain, thus keeping the mind healthy.
Recent studies indicate that improper maintenance of teeth may cause inflammation of the gums and may contribute to the advancement of Alzheimer’s. So it is imperative to brush and floss and have regular dental checkups.
Reduction of stress is also important in maintaining a healthy mind and body. Stress has been shown to cause the release hormones that may affect and even reduce the functionality of the brain. Stress can also contribute to anxiety and depression