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    Private GP Services & Occupational Healthcare in Edinburgh, UK.

    The best ways to boost your brain

    The best ways to boost your brain

    Posted on February 23rd, 2024

    They say life begins at 50, but according to the British Medical Journal, research suggests that “The brain’s capacity for memory, reasoning and comprehension skills (cognitive function) can start to deteriorate from age 45”. So is forgetfulness and declining brain function just part and parcel of ageing? The health experts at YourGP believe it doesn’t have to be. And what better time to explore that topic than Brain Awareness Week, which runs 11th – 17th March.

    What happens to the brain as it ages?

    The ageing process affects all areas of the body, including the brain. It shrinks over time, blood flow to the brain decreases, and neuron communication becomes less effective. All of this can result in reduced cognitive ability.

    However, there are things you can do to give yourself the best chance of slowing down this ageing process. In fact, making healthy lifestyle choices could enable you to keep mental decline at bay, so there’s no reason you can’t outsmart the grandkids well into your 90s!

    What happens to the brain when we exercise it?

    Exercising your brain is the best way to keep it sharp. It reinforces connections between brain cells, improves mental speed and boosts short-term memory.

    The best ways to keep your brain active

    • Do puzzles such as crosswords, wordsearches or sudoku: Puzzles such as these increase the production of dopamine – a chemical responsible for regulating mood, memory, and concentration.
    • Play board games such as chess: These are great for improving your concentration and attention span.
    • Pick up a pastime: Whether it’s crafting, gardening or learning a new language, you’re never too old to challenge yourself or find a new hobby.
    • Test your trivia: Online quizzes and playing along with TV gameshows can be fun ways to learn new facts and recall old ones.
    • Ditch the calculator: It’s all too easy to tot up totals on your smartphone calculator, but incorporating numeracy into your everyday habits can boost your brain health. Try keeping a running total of the cost of your groceries next time you’re in the supermarket and check if you’re right when you reach the checkout.
    • Read more: Your brain needs to be regularly intellectually stimulated, so boost your brain power with a good book.

    Lifestyle choices that really make a difference

    The brain activities listed above will have an even greater impact if you pair them with the following lifestyle suggestions:

    • Eat a healthy, balanced diet: Ensure your brain is getting all the essential nutrients it needs for optimal functionality, and cut down or cut out alcohol.
    • Exercise regularly: Regular physical exercise increases blood flow, so those essential nutrients and oxygen can be delivered the brain.
    • Socialise often: Research shows that isolation can accelerate mental decline, so consider joining a club such as a choir, book club or rambling group, or volunteer with a local charity or community group to stay connected.
    • Sleep well: Tiredness can have a detrimental effect on cognitive function, so prioritise rest and ensure you get a good night’s sleep.
    • Look after your mental health: Stress and anxiety can impact your cognitive capacities, so look after yourself and make time for selfcare.

    Speak to the experts

    If you would like to speak to a health expert about the best ways to keep your brain active, make an appointment at YourGP. You can choose a date and time that suits you via our simple online booking system, or you can email reception@your.gp. Alternatively, you call us on 0131 225 5656 or arrange a call back via our website.

    The facilities and patient service are second to none. The treatment I received for my eczema was innovative, holistic and most importantly highly effective. My skin has responded to the treatment I was prescribed. I am delighted with the resultant, significant reduction in my symptoms. I was impressed by the caring, sensitive and professional treatment I received. This was in stark contrast to my experience at my usual GP and at private consultations with supposedly eminent and specialist dermatologists. Thank you.

    Diane M

    YourGP is regulated by Healthcare Improvement Scotland – the regulator for independent healthcare services across Scotland. Healthcare Improvement Scotland accepts complaints at any time. Contact them at:

    Independent Healthcare Team
    Gyle Square | 1 South Gyle Crescent | Edinburgh | EH12 9EB
    0131 623 4342 | his.ihcregulation@nhs.scot

    YourGP is registered with the Joint Council of Cosmetic Practitioners (JCCP) Registered Office: Station Road, North Street, Havant PO9 1QU.