Cognitive Care: How to Maintain Mental Agility as We Age

Maintaining optimal brain health and mental agility into your later decades requires a multifaceted lifestyle approach.
The Love Central - Cognitive Care: How to Maintain Mental Agility as We Age The Love Central - Cognitive Care: How to Maintain Mental Agility as We Age
Cognitive Care: How to Maintain Mental Agility as We Age
Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

You wouldn’t expect to run a marathon without training first. Similarly, your brain requires consistent exercise to stay mentally fit as the years go by. This article will share proven strategies to maintain your mental agility and keep your mind as sharp as a spear well into your golden years

Our communities of Africans dispersed around the globe are growing older at a rapid pace. In the United States alone, the Black American population aged 65+ will swell to 10.8 million by 2060 (nearly 12%).

Similar trends are projected across the Caribbean, Europe, and the African continent itself as life expectancy increases. This makes preserving cognitive vitality more crucial than ever, enabling elders to continue thriving and sharing their invaluable wisdom as advisors to the younger generation, upholding the timeless Nigerian proverb: “The life of an elder is the light that illuminates the life of the young.”

The Love Central -
Aerobic workouts that elevate your heart rate are excellent brain boosters Image source Freepik

Components of Cognitive Care

Maintaining optimal brain health and mental agility into your later decades requires a multifaceted lifestyle approach, combining the following elements:

1. Physical Exercise

Aerobic workouts that elevate your heart rate are excellent brain boosters. Studies show older adults who engaged in moderate aerobic exercise like brisk walking, dancing, or swimming for 150 minutes per week had greater brain volume and connectivity compared to their sedentary peers. 

Cardiovascular conditioning pumps more oxygen-rich blood to nourish and rejuvenate brain cells. Making exercise a regular habit can help keep your mind just as sharp as your Maasai warrior ancestors who could traverse miles by foot each day, exemplifying the Swahili wisdom: “Mbingucheneye, mbingujike” (The brain that doesn’t travel doesn’t grow).

2. Social Engagement

An engaged social life provides mental stimulation and emotional support that are both proven to boost cognitive health.

Try joining a local club focused on your cultural heritage like a Nigerian women’s group, signing up for a group dance class to move your body and meet new people, or starting a new tradition like a mensahibli (weekly family dinner) to stay connected with loved ones.

3. Lifelong Learning

Continuously challenging your brain by learning new skills creates new neural pathways and cognitive reserves to buffer against age-related decline. Take an African drumming or basket weaving class to keep ancient cultural traditions alive. 

Learn a new language like Zulu or Amharic. Or master a musical instrument like the kora or mbira to exercise your brain while connecting to your roots. The wise Ethiopian proverb reminds us: “He who learns, teaches.” 

4. Brain Games  

Incorporate brain teasers, problem-solving puzzles, and memory games into your daily routine. Dust off those dog-eared copies of WoraWoror, Gye Nyame, or Bao board games to exercise cognitive skills like working memory, processing speed, reasoning, and visual perception in a culturally grounded way. 

You can also download brain training apps like Lumosity or play card games like Oware to keep your mind limber. As the Igbo proverb proclaims: “What is worth searching for is worth finding out.”

The Love Central -
An engaged social life provides mental stimulation and emotional support Image source Freepik

5. Healthy Diet

Nourishing your brain with the right nutrients is key for cognitive fitness. Follow the examples of traditional African cuisine which is rich in antioxidant fruits and vegetables like peanuts, okra, leafy greens, and bittermelon. 

Include portions of omega-3 fatty fish like salmon or sardines, and nuts like walnuts. Fermented foods like akamu/akamu and dogon yaro provide beneficial probiotics. And spice things up with turmericand negro pepper which have anti-inflammatory properties. The Kenyan proverb speaks the truth: “A person is what he eats.” 

Conclusion: How to Maintain Mental Agility as We Age

Let’s embrace a lifestyle of cognitive care through activities steeped in the rich heritage of the African diaspora. By doing so, we can maintain our mental agility to continue making invaluable contributions to our communities as revered elders, just as the spirited Maasai warriors proclaim: “I am still vigorous and ready for action!”

READ: Mid-Year Slump? 7 Ways to Reenergize and Get Back on Track

Mid-year slump” can leave you feeling uninspired, unproductive, and yearning for a break. However, the middle of the year is an excellent time to reassess, refocus, and re-energize. 

To help you get back on track and finish the year strong, here are seven effective strategies. 

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x