We all want to remain mentally sharp as we get older. Fortunately, a lot of the factors regarding cognitive decline are well within our control, as a new study by the Institute of Medicine points out. It recommends five ways to decrease cognitive decline and stay sharp as you age.

    1. Exercise!

    As we’ve mentioned several times before, staying physically active is one of the best things you can do for your brain. In fact, regular exercise has been proven to decrease the odds of developing Alzheimer’s or dementia. Even adults with mobility issues can use a walking aid such as a rollator or walker to stay active and keep their brain healthy.

    2. Sleep

    Sleeping disorders have been linked to higher dementia rates. So by getting plenty of rest, you’ll not only be better prepared for the day, but also have better mental health.

    3. Control Your Cardiovascular Health

    Cardiovascular fitness is linked with increased intelligence and better performance on cognitive tests. Be sure to keep conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes under control. Also, if you smoke, quitting will have a positive effect on both your overall health and your brain.

    4. Carefully Choose Medications

    Some antidepressants and antipsychotics have been shown to negatively affect cognitive function. Obviously, these are important medications, so be sure to talk with your doctor about the best options for staying mentally healthy and mentally sharp.

    5. Stay Intellectually and Socially Active

    Those who engage in artistic hobbies are 73% less likely to develop mild cognitive impairment. Drawing, painting, and sculpting are all great ways to stay sharp. Spending time with friends and family also helps keep your brain active and engaged.