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Tips to Stay Smart, Sharp, and Focused

Use Your Brain

It’s true: Use it or lose it. Stretching your brain keeps your mind sharp. People who are more active in mentally challenging activities are more likely to stay sharp. Try these:

  • Read a book.
  • Go to a lecture.
  • Listen to the radio.
  • Play a game.
  • Visit a museum.
  • Learn a second language.

Mix Things Up

Remember trying to talk backwards as a child? Researchers at Duke University created exercises they call “neurobics,” which challenge your brain to think in new ways. Since your five senses are key to learning, use them to exercise your mind. If you’re right-handed, try using your left hand. Drive to work by another route. Close your eyes and see if you can recognize food by taste.

Work Out to Stay Sharp

Exercise, especially the kind that gets your heart rate up like walking or swimming, has mental pluses, too. Although experts aren’t sure why, physical activity might increase the blood supply to the brain and improve links between brain cells. Staying active can help memory, imagination, and even your ability to plan tasks.

A Healthy Diet Builds Brainpower

Do your brain a favor and choose foods that are good for your heart and waistline. Being obese in middle age makes you twice as likely to have dementia later on. High cholesterol and high blood pressure raise your chances, too. Try these easy tips:

  • Bake or grill foods instead of frying.
  • Cook with “good” fats like oils from nuts, seeds, and olives instead of cream, butter, and fats from meat.
  • Eat colorful fruits and veggies.
  • Eat fish.
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