These everyday habits aid your mental health

These everyday habits aid your mental health

Your daily habits and lifestyle — what you eat and drink, whether you exercise, how stressed you are, and more — affect your mental health every bit as much as your physical health. A growing body of research indicates that regular exercise and a healthful diet can help protect your memory from aging-related decline.

Exercise to maintain mental health

Physical fitness and mental fitness go together. People who exercise regularly tend to stay mentally sharp into their 70s, 80s, and beyond. Although the precise “dose” of exercise isn’t known, research suggests that the exercise should be moderate to vigorous and regular. Examples of moderate exercise include brisk walking, stationary bicycling, water aerobics, and competitive table tennis. Vigorous activities include jogging, high-impact aerobic dancing, square dancing, and tennis.

Also Read: Women have better memory than men

Exercise helps memory in several ways. It reduces the risk of developing several potentially memory-robbing conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke. Exercise is good for the lungs, and people who have good lung function send more oxygen to their brains. There is some evidence that exercise helps build new connections between brain cells and improves communication between them. Finally, exercise has been linked to increased production of neurotrophins, substances that nourish brain cells and help protect them against damage from stroke and other injuries.

Here are some ways to build physical activity into your daily routine:

  • Walk instead of driving when possible.
  • Set aside time each day for exercise. For extra motivation, ask your spouse or a friend to join you.
  • Use the stairs instead of the elevator.
  • Plant a garden and tend it.
  • Take an exercise class or join a health club.
  • Swim regularly, if you have access to a pool or beach.
  • Learn a sport that requires modest physical exertion, such as tennis.

Go Mediterranean

Mediterranean-type diets highlight whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and healthy fats from fish, nuts, and healthy oils. This eating style helps promote heart health and may also lessen the risk of memory and thinking problems later in life. In a study that followed more than 2,000 people over four years, those who most closely followed a Mediterranean-type diet had a lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. A later study suggested that following a Mediterranean-type diet could slow the conversion of mild cognitive impairment into full-blown dementia. Among many habits to have, eating whole food sources have shown a positive link to healthfulness.

Also Read: Eating more garlic could help improve your memory

The types of fat that predominate in the diet also seem to affect memory. As part of the National Women’s Health Initiative, 482 women ages 60 and older were observed for three years. They reported on their diets, and researchers tested their memory and thinking skills at the beginning of the study and at the end. Those who ate more unsaturated fat (which is abundant in vegetable oils and fatty fish) and less saturated fat (from red meat and full-fat dairy foods) had significantly less decline in memory than those who ate relatively little unsaturated fat.

Eating several servings of fruits and vegetables can also protect memory. Foods from plants are chock full of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that may protect against age-related deterioration throughout the body.

Habits like the above positively impact mental health and are fine approaches to take for optimum cognitive functionality.

Effects of Marijuana on Mntal health

 Brain freeze from Marijuana artistic rendering

As you get older, certain aspects of memory normally decline, but that does not mean you are powerless to protect your mental health as you age. In fact, there is a lot you can do. In addition to getting regular exercise and eating a Mediterranean style diet, you can also consider what is known and not known about marijuana.

Cannabis contains varying amounts of the potentially therapeutic compound cannabidiol (CBD). This compound is rumoured to help quell anxiety. However, there’s no question that marijuana (the dried flowers and leaves of the cannabis plant) can produce short-term memory function problems. These problems may impact thinking, working memory, executive function, and psychomotor function (physical actions that require conscious thought, such as driving a car or playing a musical instrument). This is because marijuana’s main psychoactive chemical, THC, causes its effect by attaching to receptors in brain regions. These regions are vital for memory formation and include the hippocampus, amygdala, and cerebral cortex. The extent to which long-term use of marijuana (either for medical or recreational purposes) produces persistent mental health problems is not known.

The laws regarding marijuana differ from state to state. Some outlaw it altogether, while others allow it for medical purposes—to help relieve pain and nausea, for example. And in a growing number of states, marijuana is legal for recreational use. But it remains illegal at the federal level. For that reason, it has been difficult for researchers in the United States to obtain federal research funding to study marijuana, limiting the amount of high-quality evidence available.

What you can do: If you use marijuana, understand you may have problems with memory and related cognitive functions while under the influence. There also is the possibility of developing mental health problems with long-term use.

 

About The Author

I Workout, I Write, I Run Fitness buff first. Also curate articles along the technology, wellness, and health lines. Best described as a Fitpreneur.

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