The Aging Brain: What Happens to our Brains as we Age?

Kayla Corless on Feb 1, 2023 6:30:00 AM

Concept of human intelligence with human brain on blue background

Brain health: arguably, the most important aspect of our health. Ensuring proper brain function is crucial for leading healthy lives. Brain health encompasses many different areas of brain function, which can seem overwhelming when trying to target each area simultaneously.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “Brain health is the state of brain functioning across cognitive, sensory, social-emotional, behavioral and motor domains, allowing a person to realize their full potential over the life course, irrespective of the presence or absence of disorders.”

Many factors contribute to overall brain health, which seem impossible to maintain, but truly is important in working to improve overall brain health- especially as we age. The brain begins to shrink by the time we enter our 30’s, where changes in the frontal lobes affect memory processing, motor function, emotions, problem solving, and more.

As we age, brain functions begin to decline. We begin to find difficulty in processing new information, multitasking, and remembering information. The aging process affects physical aspects of the brain as well, such as white matter (specifically, shrinking of myelinated nerve fibers), neurotransmitters, and overall brain mass size.

While aging is inevitable, it is possible to improve the brain’s overall functioning quality. By starting today, you can positively impact your brain’s health by making adjustments to your daily life.

Daily exercising and movement

Exercise helps improve the overall quality of your body and increases healthy organ function- including the brain! Exercise boosts cognition, which improves your abilities to learn, problem-solve, and regulate emotions.

Monitor blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol

The brain is affected by the health of other organs within the body. Ensuring that you are taking care of issues associated with your blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol levels can prevent the risk of dementia. 

Engage in mental activities

Reading, puzzles, and word searches are a few options to stimulate your brain to boost memory and focus. These types of activities increase nerve cell connections to help the brain in generating new cells. This process, known as brain plasticity, allows the nervous system to change its responses caused by stimuli.

Taking care of your brain today can help in allowing your brain to age without complications. For more information about the brain, Medical News Today has an article that covers in-depth information about the brain aging process. For anyone interested, ISU’s Continuing Education and Workforce Training has an upcoming course covering the process of aging and enrollment is available now!



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