Courtesy SharpBrains

Courtesy SharpBrains

Renowned “brain fitness” expert: 8 tips to keep your mind sharp

It is no surprise Alvaro Fernandez was named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum last year. He is taking over the world by teaching people to take care of their brains.

Fernandez is the CEO of SharpBrains, a one-stop site on all things health and neuroscience, which also hosts an annual virtual summit of brain scientists and experts worldwide. Fernandez also recently co-wrote a book called, “The SharpBrains Guide to Brain Fitness: How to Optimize Brain Health and Performance at Any Age.” The Spanish translation will be available in September.

“Our own research indicated that many adults wanted to do more things to improve their brain performance but didn’t know where to start — hence the need for a ‘guide,’ says Fernandez, 40. “Also, I started teaching a class at UC-Berkeley Osher Lifelong Learning Institute and realized, wow, all the questions and doubts these students have, we do have the answers to most of them via our professional work…why don’t we publish a book to make our analysis and recommendations more widely available?”

Here are 8 tips he recommended to NBC Latino on how to keep your brain as sharp as can be:

1. Say hello to the new neurons that weren’t there yesterday. Every day you wake up with 1,000 to 5,000 new neurons. Just by acknowledging them, you are making the first step to not ignoring them.

2. Do aerobic exercise at least two hours per week. It has to be aerobic such as, jogging, running, or playing an intense sport. Exercising your body is very important, because it helps create new neurons.

3. Learn how to manage stress. Observe your thought patterns and how to regulate your own thoughts/emotions. Meditation is a good way to do this, but he warns you need 15 hours for two months to get the exercise down.

4. Try something new today. Stray from your comfort zone such as, if you usually read non-fiction, read fiction. If you usually do crossword puzzles, try a video game. As people get older and have children, they tend to get into a routine, but that’s very bad for the brain. Variety is important.

5. Don’t worry about little things. Truly focus your attention on the things that matter.

6. Socialize. It’s important to meet other people and not be isolated, but it’s better to meet with people that make us happy and stimulate us, rather than people who make us feel bad. We have to make sure that those meetings and friendships are positive to truly help our brain fitness.

7. Watch what you eat. Avoid eating processed, fast food and saturated fats as much as possible.

8. Go to school. This is perhaps the best anti-Alzheimer’s investment we can make. Keep learning.

“Physical fitness didn’t really exist 50 years ago,” says Fernandez, about the gym craze happening in modern day America. “Brain fitness is not only about preventing Alzheimer’s, it’s about having a higher level of performance in everyday life…As you invest in your savings, you have to start early investing in your brain…By the time others retire, you can keep working if you want to.”

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