How to maintain brain health in your golden years


COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Challenging your mind and staying sharp can help you in your golden years.

“The best ways, studies have shown, to do that is learning new activities," Dr. Kathleen Hager, DO, an OhioHealth Geriatrician, said. "Crosswords, reading, those are all fantastic ways to do it but the best bang for your buck in a sense is continuing to learn new things and activities.”

Dr. Hager at OhioHealth’s Gerlach Center for Senior Health said doing these things can help your brain health in the long run.

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“Looking at new languages, a new craft, a new hobby, a community college that may be nearby if there’s something that has always interested the patient," Dr. Hager said. "But continuing to keep our minds sharp.”

Dr. Hager said physical activity is always a necessity. And Lou Cattell is taking the recommendation.

“I try to walk, I try to park far away and walk," Lou Cattell said. "I take the stairs rather than an elevator.”

Lou is 79 years old. But you wouldn’t know it! She does yoga, Pilates, and aerobics to help her scoliosis. And her chiropractor is happy with the results.

“She said, ‘I don’t know what you’re doing but keep it up because it is so much better,’” Cattell said.

Cattell said the programs have been helping her stay sharp while making new friends.

“Ya know, a lot of people don’t like to be out and about at 9 a.m. but it’s worth it,” Cattell said.

Dr. Hager said socializing is a big part of it.

“Socialization is by far where we go wrong as we get older,” Dr. Hager said. “We often recommend senior centers or any programming in their local communities.”

Lou does plenty of that.

“The socializing. I mean, I call them my exercise friends and my other friends know exactly who I mean when I talk about my exercise friends,” Cattell said.

By exercising your body and your mind, you can improve your brain health down the road.

Learn about maintaining your brain health at the next OhioHealth HOOFit Walk at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium July 19.