How to Keep a Sharp Mind

Continue to exercise your brain to keep it functioning well.
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As people age, their brains gradually shrink; memory becomes weaker just as the body does. The antiaging industry has developed strategies for helping you keep your mind sharp, including everything from vitamins to special diets, physical workouts and brain exercises. According to a 2012 "Psychology Today" article, "Memory Medic: What Happens to the Aging Brain," continuing education and intellectual stimulus can help protect your brain from the effects of aging.

1 Exercise Your Brain

Higher levels of education are associated with better mental functioning, according to Harvard Health Publications. This may be because the longer you remain in classes, the longer you keep your brain actively learning. You don't need to be in school to exercise your mind. Engage in activities like reading or debating issues with friends. Incorporate your senses into learning so that more of your brain will be involved in retaining memories. Read while savoring a cappuccino in a cafe. Repeat what you want to know or remember by writing it down or reciting it. Instead of reciting information repetitively in a short time period, space it out to encourage your mind to remember something hours or days later.

2 Play Brain Games

Use brain teasers to keep your mind sharp, especially in your elder years. Challenge yourself for just two hours a week to see results, suggests Denise Chow in the Live Science article "Brain Teaser Games May Slow Aging Mind." For example, do crossword or other types of puzzles and play cards. Researchers at the University of Iowa tested 681 healthy people over age 50 by having them play a specially designed video game for 10 hours. The game, aimed at improving speed and mental processing abilities, was able to help slow the decline of cognitive skills.

Rachel Pancare taught elementary school for seven years before moving into the K-12 publishing industry. Pancare holds a Master of Science in childhood education from Bank Street College and a Bachelor of Arts in English from Skidmore College.