Health, Life

Top CNN Expert Shares How to Stay Sharp As You Age


While everyone believes that they need to do puzzles, crossword games, sudoku booklets and the like to keep their brains healthy and young, apparently, these aren’t the only ways to do it. Although they do provide protection for the brain, they’re not as great at doing the job as you might have first believed. 

According to neurosurgeon Dr. Sanjay Gupta, who also happens to be CNN’s Chief Medical Correspondent, he suggests thinking of the brain not as a single muscle but as a ‘series of muscles you want to exercise.’ The doctor shares that the best way to get new neural connections working is by engaging different parts of the brain. 


All these new connections are a basis for learning, says Dr. Gupta, and they are what allow you to take in and acquire new information. He suggests that you do a few things like try a new hobby, learn a new language, establish a new skill or read books that you haven’t read before.

Gupta also shares that keeping the brain in constant motion, learning new things, and not getting stuck doing the same thing is what’s going to put your brain in motion rather than keep it in a rut. The brain doctor goes on to share that he even knows 90-year old stockbrokers that can still manage to complete complex transactions in their heads without any issues. While it might seem incredibly impressive to everyone else, for these elderly gentlemen, it’s totally normal. And that’s all because it’s a skill that they’ve polished for many years, which has kept them quite sharp. 

In order to have a “cognitive edge” as Dr. Gupta calls it, he says you need to develop your brain into continually doing lots of new things. 

Another good way to prevent Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia, and something that’s even more effective is physical exercise. The Neurology journal did a study involving 700 participants that were all in their early 70s. They found that those that had a much more active lifestyle had better cognitive function and less brain shrinkage than those that didn’t do anything physical at all and just sat on the couch all day.

The study also found that 6 to 20% of the mental ability of this group was due to physical activity. There were certain physical activities that work better than others too, including aerobic activity, resistance training, and cardio – which works more for maintaining healthier blood vessels to properly supply the heart and brain. But while the medical field can’t exactly say why it works, Dr. Gupta just says that they just know that it does.

He also goes on to say that it’s just as important to control your blood pressure, have a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, and make sure that you have strong social support networks, all of which have been validated by a number of studies on the matter. And even if you prefer to do mind puzzles and crosswords to increase brain power and keep “young” mentally, be sure to add some physical exercise to your daily regiment in order to ensure that aging is a pleasant and happy experience.