Maintaining Brain Health After 40: Engaging the Mind and Body to Help Prevent Dementia

Mature couple relaxing together in the garden.
The foundation of a happy marriage is not found in intense passion but in mutual respect and kindness. By shifting our perspective from seeking external validation to cherishing our relationship, we appreciate the traditional wisdom that advises us to treat our spouses with dignity and care.(Image: Sureshot75 via Dreamstime)

Your brain’s natural ability to maintain its function starts to decline as you age, particularly after you reach 40. This leads to a pertinent question: Is there a way to not only prevent this decline, but also enhance your cognitive abilities? The answer lies in a holistic approach that encompasses diet, physical activity, and mental exercises. In this article, we look at a few essential practices to keep your brain agile and active, thus fending off the signs of aging and cognitive decline.

Enhancing brain function through new skills

The human brain thrives on usage: the more it’s engaged, the more efficient it becomes. Therefore, it’s crucial to avoid neglecting mental activities, such as studying or thinking, as these activities are essential for stimulating neurons and preventing its degeneration.

Frequent engagement boosts nerve transmission, enhancing reaction times, conduction speed, and overall mental agility. By learning new skills and adopting multiple perspectives, you can continually stimulate your brain, maintaining its youthfulness and acuity.

Two effective exercises to ward off dementia

Physical exercise is vital for maintaining a healthy, vibrant brain. Specifically, walking and back-stretching exercises are simple, yet highly effective, particularly for those over 50, who are typically less active.

Physical exercise like walking is vital for maintaining a healthy, vibrant brain.
Physical exercise like walking is vital for maintaining a healthy, vibrant brain. (Image: Yuri Arcurs via Dreamstime)

1. Brisk walking

Japanese geriatrics expert Yu Taniguchi emphasizes the correlation between stride length and brain health. A stride under 26 inches significantly increases cognitive impairment risk. Brisk walking, therefore, is a proactive step against such impairment.

Method: Increase your stride by about 1 inch, maintain an upright posture, look ahead, and swing your arms naturally. This promotes brain-foot coordination and activates the brain. Walking enhances nerve circuits, muscle vitality, cardiorespiratory function, and mood, while also preventing dementia.

2. Stretching back muscles

Chest, neck, and back stretches improve blood flow to the brain. Regular 5-10 minute stretching sessions can rejuvenate it. Neuroscientist Rahul Jandial notes that standing and walking trigger the secretion of brain-derived neurotrophic factor, a protein vital for the health of its neurons, thus boosting its performance.

Efficient brain rest

A balanced approach to brain health also involves rest. Meditation and quality sleep are crucial for giving it an efficient break.

1. Meditation

Regular meditation strengthens neural connections, boosts circulation, and enhances brain function, attention, and concentration. It reduces stress, anxiety, and is increasingly recognized for its ability to improve cognitive disorders in older adults.

2. Quality sleep

Sleep is a period of active maintenance. The brain clears waste and harmful substances, consolidates memories, and repairs and regenerates cells during sleep, thereby enhancing its function and health.

Mature woman stretching and smiling after she wakes up.
Quality sleep is crucial for giving the brain an efficient break. (Image: Fizkes via Dreamstime)

Chinese medicine for dementia

Traditional Chinese medicine offers a unique perspective on treating brain dementia. The “Soup with half Dao and half Chi” is a notable formula from this ancient practice. It includes a blend of specific ingredients, such as Chinese Goldthread (Coptis chinensis), Mondo Grass (Ophiopogon japonicus), a type of fungus known as Poria, and Anemarrhena, a traditional herb known for its cooling properties, along with Licorice, ethically sourced or synthetic alternatives to Rhinoceros horn, Talc, Gardenia, and Ginseng.

Tao Jiean, a renowned physician from the Ming Dynasty, described cognitive impairment in a way that vividly illustrates its impact on daily life. According to him, it’s a condition where “one’s mind leaves one’s body.” People with this impairment might eat when given food, but show no desire to eat otherwise and seem to have a complete loss of memory. The “Soup with half Dao and half Chi” was used to treat such symptoms, reflecting the holistic approach of Chinese medicine in addressing cognitive health.


In the midst of life’s complexities, it is essential to prioritize your brain health. The strategies outlined above are pivotal in maintaining cognitive function. As the ancient wisdom of Tao Jiean and contemporary scientific research both suggest, taking care of this complex organ’s health is not just a necessity, but a path to a longer, more fulfilling life. By embracing these practices, you can ensure your mind remains as agile and vibrant as ever, regardless of your age!

Translated article

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  • Mikel Davis

    Mikel serves as editor and sometime writer for Nspirement. He loves foreign cultures and foreign places. They have taught him many lessons. He hopes his work can impact others so they have a better life, or at least a better day.