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Empowering Retirees with a Vibrant Mind and Endless Energy

Old woman stretching on yoga mat in her living room while working on her laptop

Although we may not notice a physical change at first glance, our brains change as we age, from shrinking brain sizes to being more at risk for memory impairment, stroke, dementia, and white matter lesions.

This can be especially alarming for those who want to retire earlier. Working in a quality position that offers high rewards and a manageable schedule in your retirement can positively impact your physical and mental health according to research done by BMC Public Health.

However, to retire early and control some of the transitions your brain makes as you age, you must stay engaged cognitively. Taking some intentional actions can rejuvenate your brain health and increase your energy levels.

Pursue Hobbies

Retiring can be tough because your career was such an integral part of your life. It can feel like a big hole to fill once you aren’t working. But it’s easy to do so with hobbies. Hobbies are much like work in that you’re doing something every day, challenging yourself and growing your skillset, which keeps your mind moving and developing.

In addition, research shows that hobbies can stimulate the mind and develop cognitive ability. They’re under the umbrella of mental activities that help brain health. For example, learning a new instrument can help memory function. Or, reading various kinds of literature can reduce the risk of cognitive decline. 

Remember all of those things you wanted to do but couldn’t because you were raising kids and working like crazy? It’s time to pull that list out and pursue those interests one by one.

You can go the self-learning route. Or, consider taking classes for your hobby. Not only will you get better at what you’re doing, but you’ll also meet new friends and get much-needed socialization.

Do Brain Exercises

To ensure your body is in good physical shape, you exercise, whether at the gym, at home, or in a class. It should be the same way with your brain. Brain exercises are meant to help keep you mentally sharp. They’re a fun way to challenge your brain and continuously work on your focus, memory, and concentration.

Start with this list of brain exercises to maintain your brain’s health and function:

  • Play Sudoku
  • Do a jigsaw puzzle
  • Learn a new dance
  • Learn a new skill
  • Play music often
  • Learn a new language
  • Try card games, like solitaire or bridge
  • Play memory card games
  • Do crossword puzzles

You can find more brain exercises online with a quick Google search for them. Try as many as you can and find those that you’re particularly fond of. Incorporate them into your every day, and you’ll be on your way to a vibrant mind.

Make Lifestyle Changes

As your brain changes with age, you may notice feeling mentally fuzzy more often — known as brain fog. It can manifest as:

  • Issues paying attention;
  • Trouble concentrating;
  • Feeling fatigued;
  • Confusion;
  • Slowed thinking;
  • Taking longer to solve problems and make decisions.

Stress, lack of sleep, menopause, and nutrient deficiencies can also cause brain fog. To combat it, you need to make some lifestyle changes, particularly in the areas of sleep, nutrition, exercise, and your daily routine. Let’s look at each of these in more detail.

Commit to consistent physical activity

Daily exercise is one of the best things you can do for your mind. It increases blood flow to the brain, exposing it to more oxygen, nutrients, and proteins.

Consistent physical activity also gives you more energy during the day. You can get more done and engage in activities you otherwise wouldn’t be able to. You sleep better at night too, allowing your brain to rest and rebuild for better function the next day.

Choose a routine that you know you can stay consistent with. Be mindful of your current level of physical fitness. Consulting your doctor before you start your exercise routine is also a good idea to ensure you’re going about it safely.

Get better sleep

One of the worst habits we can get into in our lives is adopting an inconsistent sleep schedule. Either you aren’t getting enough sleep or you’re getting too much of it.

Neither allows your body to get into a good circadian rhythm. And without this, you won’t get the amount or level of sleep you need to feel mentally refreshed and ready for the next day.

Make it a point to get better sleep. At least seven hours of sleep per night is the recommendation from The American Academy of Sleep Medicine. Any less than this and you’re likely to experience cognitive issues.

Adopting a bedtime routine can be helpful as well. It will signal to your body and mind that it’s time for bed, helping you to drift off to sleep with ease. Try a simple routine, such as getting into your pajamas, taking care of your oral hygiene, journaling for 10 minutes, and then turning on rain music to help you sleep.

Eat healthier and for brain function

What you eat can absolutely affect your brain health and how you feel. For example, when your diet consists of fast food, you’re more likely to feel sluggish and unmotivated. On the other hand, if your diet is one of fruits, vegetables, proteins, and healthy carbs, you’ll have more energy and feel better physically.

Also, there is a such thing as the MIND diet. It’s a special diet meant to preserve your brain function and reduce your risk of developing dementia. The MIND diet uses components of the Mediterranean diet and the DASH diet, with these 10 foods at the core of it:

  • Berries
  • Nuts
  • Olive oil
  • Leafy vegetables
  • All other vegetables
  • Whole grains
  • Fish
  • Beans
  • Poultry
  • Wine

Talk with a nutritionist before adopting this diet to ensure you’re doing it right. A slight change in what you eat could be all you need to maintain a healthy mind and increase your energy.

Adopt an energizing routine

When you get older, it’s easy to become sedentary and less involved with life. But being this way can suck the energy out of you, not to mention fast track diminishing brain function.

Try transforming your daily routine so that you stay energized the whole day. Start with waking up at a decent time every morning and having a nutritious breakfast. Limit your caffeine intake and take your supplements. Manage stressors throughout your day with healthy coping mechanisms like meditation. Get some sun and have random conversations with people.

Enjoying a more active lifestyle during retirement will keep your mind stimulated and you enthusiastic about life.

Staying mentally sharp and energized is crucial for an active and fulfilling retirement journey. A vibrant mind, endless energy, and improved quality of life are on the other side of implementing the advice in this article.

Written By

Sam Bowman

Sam Bowman writes about people, aging, wellness, and how they merge. He enjoys getting to utilize the internet for community without actually having to leave his house. In his spare time he likes running, reading, and combining the two in a run to his local bookstore.

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