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Published on: January 24, 2020
by Brain MD:
Though it sounds like a slogan, it’s absolutely true: It’s never too late to start working on brain health.
That said, the strategies for how to optimize your brain will vary depending on several aspects, not the least of which is how many years you’ve lived on planet Earth.
No matter what season of life you’re in, here are some useful health tips for those aged 20 to 120…
The Roaring 20s
If you’re in your twenties, chances are you’re healthy, full of energy, and always up for an adventure. Aging and retirement are probably the furthest things from your mind.
During this decade, you might go to college, begin an entry-level job, travel the world or get married and start a family. With so many options, this is a pivotal decade for establishing healthy routines that can impact the rest of your life. At this stage of life, making good decisions regarding your health will pay dividends in the future.
The temptation at this age is to feel invincible, which can lead to overindulgent behaviors, such as smoking or vaping, drinking too much alcohol or experimenting with drugs, as well as other extreme activities that can harm the body and brain.
It’s recommended that people in their twenties should:
The Responsible 30s
Sometimes the seemingly limitless capacity of the twenties extends into the thirties. However, many people begin to experience changes as they move deeper into this decade. Energy can begin to wane, health problems may develop, and that giddy feeling of being able to accomplish anything you want is tempered by the reality that you may have lost a step.
New responsibilities also may crimp your style: establishing a career, being a good parent, paying off student loans, etc. Physical and mental health may begin to take a back seat to work and family responsibilities. These pressures can cause some to seek out unhealthy coping mechanisms, which may include alcohol, drugs, unsafe sex, and gambling.
It’s recommended that people in their thirties should:
The Reality Check 40s
This is the decade when the poor decisions and health habits of the earlier decades can have measurable negative consequences. Responsibilities at home and work will intensify during these years, sometimes making you feel overworked, run-down, and sleep-deprived. The leisure-filled 20s may be but a distant memory at this point.
For many, the 40s are when physical and mental health take a noticeable decline. Maybe you’ve never had to worry about diet and exercise before, but this is when you really need to start watching what you eat and making sure you maintain consistent fitness. If you haven’t already quit smoking and drastically reduced alcohol intake, do it now!
It’s recommended that people in their forties should:
The Reprioritized 50s
This is the decade when many initiate a reset of their health. For most people in their fifties, the kids are out (or about to be out) of the house and it’s an opportunity to reevaluate priorities. This may result in downsizing…moving into a smaller house or condo.
It might also mean traveling or revisiting long-forgotten hobbies, including those that give physical exercise like: hiking, bicycling, sailing, dancing, or horseback riding. This should be an active decade with an added emphasis placed on enrichment and self-care.
Unfortunately, this is also the decade when weight, blood pressure, and cholesterol can become major health concerns. These individuals may also lose muscle strength, energy, and libido. Be sure to establish annual checkups with your doctor.
It’s recommended that people in their fifties should:
The Retirement 60s
Many entering their sixties have grown-up kids with families of their own. During this post- “empty nest” period, many enjoy the extra free time, which can involve travel, new hobbies and spending time with the grandkids.
Though many are choosing to retire later than the previous benchmark of age 65, most people will start slowing down at some point during this decade. Physical or health problems may bring about a slower pace of life. As much as possible, it’s vital to stay active at this age.
It’s recommended that people in their sixties should:
The Resplendent 70s (and beyond)
From age 70 on, health can have an even more direct impact on lifestyle than the previous decades. That’s why it’s crucial to remain disease-free, stay mentally and physically active, and cultivate new friendships, since loneliness can be a major threat to health. Many use the added leisure time during retirement to see the world and check off items on their “bucket list.”
As has been well documented, people of this age tend to have higher risk for problems with their heart, brain, and other organs. Muscle toning is important because frailty is a risk and falls can be devastating. A healthy diet, consistent physical activity and developing new interests are extremely important to help fend off the approach of old age.
It’s recommended that people in their seventies (and beyond) should:
Proper diet and exercise coupled with overall health maintenance and screening against disease can help preserve your brain and body over the long-term. Remember, it’s never too late, or early, to adopt brain-healthy habits that can benefit you the rest of your life. Here’s to a better brain and a better future.
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