We know that developing healthy habits at an early age is important, but research suggests that it is even more important for those ages 50 and beyond to get motivated and develop behaviors that are crucial to healthy aging. These behaviors include leading a healthy lifestyle and strengthening brain health.
So what is brain health? It is the ability to learn, think and remember by drawing on strengths of the brain. Living a healthy lifestyle needs to incorporate a good balance of nutrition, exercise and brain health. To maintain a clear, active mind is no small feat. The brain’s job is to make sense of the world and help oversee daily operations. So put simply, brain health is all about making the most of what you have and helping to reduce risks as you move through life. Keeping active socially is a vital part of brain health that many do not think about. The National Institute on Aging encourages social interaction as a benefit to health and well-being among older adults (Services, 2017).
"Be a busy person. People who are active are often much more at peace with themselves than those who are inactive and inert." -Wayne Dyer
Socialization is an important part of aging and as we get older, it’s important to be active socially to stay healthy. Social interaction provides meaningful engagement, builds relationships, enhances a sense of belonging and provides opportunities for involvement—all resulting in greater bonds and a stronger sense of community. There are simple ways to stay active socially that can contribute to one’s overall well-being.
Friendship – Make friendships and connections a priority. Take a walk with a friend or a neighbor; have weekly coffee or lunch meet ups; learn how to connect on social media. A study conducted by Northwestern University found that “maintaining positive and trusting friendships could be the key to a sharper memory and a slower decline in cognitive function as you age” (Emling, 2017).
Fellowship – Being connected to the community keeps you healthy! Join a book club; volunteer at your local pet shelter, church or other organization; join a class at your local Y; take a bus trip to some place new and exciting. Maintaining an active social life improves your mental and physical health, leads to a longer life expectancy and decreases your risk of developing dementia as you age (Troyer, 2016).
Family – Be involved in family activities. Babysit your grandchildren if you are able; attend birthday and anniversary parties, weddings and more; go watch a grandchild’s extracurricular activity; connect with long-distance relatives on the phone.
In addition to the benefits for your brain health, socialization decreases depression and the feeling of isolation that often occur with age. Connecting to others provides support, reduces stress and enhances intellectual stimulation (Cleveland Clinic, 2017). So take an active role in your brain health. Stay connected to friends and family near and far, take up a new hobby or join a club where you can make new friends and have something to look forward to each week or learn how to use social media to stay connected and keep your mind sharp. Taking control of your health now means a longer and more meaningful life ahead.
Cleveland Clinic. (2017). 6 Pillars of Brain Health. Retrieved from Healthy Brains:
Emling, S. (2017, December 19). Brain Health & Wellness. Retrieved from AARP:
Services, U. D. (2017, October 13). National Institute on Aging. Retrieved from
Troyer, A. K. (2016, June 30). The Health Benefits of Socializing. Retrieved from Psychology Today: