Want to stay cognitively healthy into old age? A new study examined over 2000 older adults (age 65+), and studied the relationship between voluntary lifestyle factors and cognitive function.
Lifestyle factors associated with better cognitive function in old age included:
- A healthy diet
- More physical activity
- Socially and mentally stimulating activities
- Light to moderate alcohol consumption
A new twist on the research was that they also found evidence that lifestyle factors have an effect via "cognitive reserve"—the ability of the brain to optimize performance by recruiting new brain networks or changing strategy, and making it more resilient to the cognitive decline that naturally comes with old age. In other words, a healthy lifestyle may not necessarily prevent your brain from functioning less effectively, but it can allow your brain to work around damage by changing its approach to cognitive tasks.
Using Cambridge Brain Sciences over months and years can help you measure results like these for yourself. Log your exercise, sleep, and stress as lifestyle factors, and take a challenge to get an idea of how they relate to your cognition.