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Keep on thinking! Ways to keep your mind in shape

Staying active past age 50 doesn’t only mean aerobics or power walks. Your brain needs its regular workout to function at tiptop levels, too. Make these mind-over-matter suggestions a part of your fitness regimen:

  • Dare yourself to learn a new skill, such as taking photographs, playing a musical instrument or speaking another language.
  • Drink like a fish … water, that is—eight glasses daily. It’s the single most important element in our bodies and it’s essential for clear thinking. Eat more nutritiously, too. You’ll notice you have more stamina and a better outlook.
  • Use routines to keep yourself organized and productive. Good places to start: a calendar to keep track of tasks, a to-do list for getting things fixed or done around the house, a diary to record events and ideas.
  • Learn to focus your thoughts through techniques such as meditation and yoga. These exercises relieve stress to keep you centered on the task at hand.
  • Stay “up” as times goes by. It may sound trite, but doctors say people who look on the bright side are more alert and aware and live longer than worrywarts.
  • Take advantage of the many ways you can keep your mind sharp. Do the daily crossword puzzle, take an adult-education course, join a bridge club or just observe a daily ritual like an after-dinner stroll to keep your brain-power peaking.
  • Forgive yourself the next time you need 15 minutes to find your car keys. As we age, we naturally become slightly forgetful about mundane items. And though worsening lapses require a doctor’s evaluation, so-called short-term memory loss (of events in the past few minutes, hours or days) is perfectly normal. Besides, worrying about it can make it worse.