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Keep your brain sharp

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Our brains are powerful. They control every part of our daily lives. But as we get older, it’s common for our brains to have cognitive changes. By making small lifestyle changes, you can help keep your brain sharp.


Brain health1

The brain has many functions. Each function allows us to perform different skills. Our brain’s health is measured by how well it performs these skills. Overall brain health is made up of:

  • Cognitive health — Thinking, learning and remembering
  • Motor function — Movement and balance
  • Emotional function — Responding to pleasant and unpleasant feelings
  • Tactile function — Feeling sensations of touch, like pressure, pain and temperature


Avoiding risk factors

We can’t control some factors that affect brain health. Genetics, injuries and some medical conditions play a part in how our brains change as we age. But there are some risk factors we can control:

  • Diet
  • Activity
  • Nicotine and alcohol


Take care of your brain so it can take care of you

Here are some lifestyle tips that can help increase your brain health: 

Health: Get routine preventive screenings. Manage chronic health problems.
Sleep: Get enough good sleep. Aim for about seven to eight hours a night.
Alcohol: Limit how much you drink. Some medicines don’t mix with any amount of alcohol.
Activity: Try to be active for 2½ hours each week.
Cognition: Play games or read. Learn a new skill or hobby.
Food: Eat a healthy diet with lots of fruits and veggies.
Nicotine: Don’t smoke or use tobacco in any form.
Connection: Stay in touch with family and friends.

1National Institute on Aging. Cognitive Health and Older Adults. October 1, 2020. Accessed March 31, 2022. 

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