To keep cognitive ability from diminishing we need to make our brain work. In order for this to happen we must make 'brain work' a priority or habit. The way the brain learns is by repetition sort of like programming. Once programmed the mind will do what it knows to do.
Make use of your brain as you do mindless tasks such as washing the car or fishing. You can do this by listening to educational or motivational tapes. Carry tapes with you wherever you go and listen to them when the opportunity arises.
Stay creative by taking a class or doodling with a hobby. The mind loves to create things your job is to find out what it is yours wants to create. Creative projects are great for brain development. Do some research to get ideas and then be proactive and make it happen.
Be social and meet new people. One of the ways we lose cognitive ability is loneliness or isolation. Loneliness affects brain function in a negative way. When we talk and listen the brain is working, especially if we're learning or teaching.
Do brain exercise to improve cognitive function. Puzzles, brain teasers, math problems, trivia games as well as board, card and computer games are all excellent ways to give the brain workout. Vary the exercises, be consistent and do them 3-4 times a week for best results.
Exercise your body too! The brain is where the signal originates to tell the body what to do. Without the brain the body is lifeless. Do exercises you enjoy and also try new forms of exercise to make the brain work harder.
Read and write daily if possible, both of these tasks work the mind and help keep cognitive ability from slipping away. It seems like such a simple thing to do and it is, so why not do it? Do yourself a favor and keep a tablet, pen and several books available for easy access.
Lastly, eat healthy and add more brain foods to your diet. Consume foods rich in antioxidants like berries, grapes, veggies, nuts, eggs, seeds, cereals and foods that contain vitamins A, C, E and B complex. Also, salmon, mackerel and tuna as well as healthy fats found in avocado and olives are good for the brain.