Tips for a healthy ageing brain

16th Mar 2021

To celebrate this year’s Brain Awareness Week (BAW), 15-21 March 2021, we’re highlighting the British Neuroscience Association’s (BNA) current 'Year of Ageing'. Along with our special BNA2021 programme stream on dementia run by our Festival of Neuroscience partner, UK DRI - with some tips for a healthy ageing brain. Plus, some useful resources!

Tips for a healthy ageing brain

The latest evidence suggests that up to 40% of all cases of dementia are linked to factors we may be able to influence ourselves – some of them through relatively simple changes to the way we live. Here are some tips that can help keep an ageing brain healthy. . .

  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables.

  • Stay physically active Physical activity is strongly associated with successful brain ageing. Exercise increases levels of brain chemicals that encourage the growth of neurons.

  • Take care of your heart. Reducing your risk of heart disease also reduces your risk of dementia.
  • Regularly do things you enjoy – whether that’s reading, playing board games or learning a new language. Engaging in learning activities throughout life will help maintain brain health.
  • Maintain a positive outlook. This may be one of the most important things we can do to keep our brains healthy and ready to learn.
  • Maintain social connections. As we age, the more contact we have with others, the better we may become at preserving mental sharpness.
  • Manage stress. While acute, short-term stress can focus attention and improve memory, chronic stress takes a physical toll on the brain and body, particularly for those aged 60 and over. 
  • Sleep well. Adequate sleep is necessary to consolidate certain types of memories: if we don’t sleep well, we don’t learn as well and brain function can suffer.
Did you know...? Queen Victoria began learning Hindustani at 68, Frank Lloyd Wright designed his last building at 89, Nelson Mandela became president of South Africa at 77 and Agatha Christie wrote her final novel at 85?

Ageing resources

  • Our risk of dementia is made up of many complex factors, including our age, environment, lifestyle, health and whether we carry any risk genes. Find out more about the factors here.

  • “SuperAgers” is a term used to describe people who retain high memory performance even in old age. Click here to read more about what keeps the memories of cognitive “SuperAgers” sharp.

  • Read more here about how reduced adult neurogenesis is linked with Alzheimer’s Disease

  • Some recent research suggests that even the apparent slowdown in mental processing reflects, in part, the richer trove of information that the older brain must sort through. Read more here.

  • For wider resources and information on Ageing, you might like to visit:,,,

  • The House of Lords Science and Technology Committee has warned that the UK Government is set to miss its own targets on healthy ageing, and needs to act now to achieve its aim of ensuring five extra years of healthy and independent life for people by 2035. The Report, Ageing: Science, Technology and Healthy Living, looks at a wide range of issues around healthy ageing – from cognitive function and health inequalities through to possible solutions that could be delivered through new innovations. Several neuroscientists, such as Barbara Sahakian (Cambridge) and Russell Foster (Oxford) gave evidence to the inquiry.

Brain Awareness Week (BAW) is a global campaign, founded by The Dana Foundation, to engage and educate the public on the advances and advantages of brain research in a worldwide celebration of the brain!

Check out our UK and Ireland events calendar for lots of - mostly FREE - virtual events!



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