By | MEGAN O’NEILL MELLE | parade.com
Memory loss is not inevitable as we age, says neurosurgeon and CNN chief medical correspondent Sanjay Gupta, M.D., whose new book, Keep Sharp: Build a Better Brain at Any Age (Simon & Schuster), includes a 12-week program to help you hold on to memories and develop a sharper and more resilient brain. “There’s a natural wear and tear that happens to our bodies, but the brain is different,” Gupta says. “It can be sustained throughout your entire life and can even get stronger.” Here are eight of his tips to prevent memory loss.
1. Take a hike
What’s the perfect activity for the brain? “Take a brisk walk with a close friend or family member and talk about your problems,” says Gupta. Fitness and physical exertion is the only thing scientifically documented to help brain function. Add in social connection and unburdening your problems, and this is the ultimate preventive measure for cognitive decline, he says.
2. Chill out
Reducing stress and building mental resilience is vital, and it was the Dalai Lama who suggested Gupta try analytical meditation. “Instead of thinking about nothing, I think about something very specific, usually a problem or issue I’m trying to solve,” he says. Other ways you can practice R&R daily: Check out Netflix’s Headspace Guide to Meditation, which showcases a different mindfulness technique each episode, or get artistic with a custom Paint by Numbers (just submit your own photo). $14 per month, netflix.com; from $38, miicreative.com