Exercising Your Mind for Healthy Aging
You can take proactive steps to keep your brain healthy and reduce risk of dementia as you age. Our experts are here to discuss available solutions.
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Brain Health Solutions
Total Brain Health empowers adults with fun, science-backed brain training programs. Use their hands-on, cognitive programs to improve thinking and quality of life. Try the TBH TOOLBOX365 activity cards for one-to-one workouts, or the TBH BUILD YOUR MEMORY! video program with workbook to rev up recall.
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8 Tips for a Healthier Brain
It’s important to continue to use your mind as you age. Research shows that up to 40% of the risk for Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias can be reduced with these everyday steps.
A healthy brain requires a healthy body. Make it a goal to engage in 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week to keep your brain healthy. That’s just a little over 20 minutes per day. The key is to find a type of exercise that you enjoy and have easy access to such as walking, swimming, biking, or even dancing.
Get good sleep
Sleep has been shown to help with memory, stress, and immunity. It is important to establish a good sleep hygiene routine every night. Go to bed and wake up around the same time each night and morning. You’ll probably fall asleep faster if you turn off your TV, computer, or tablet at least 30 minutes before bed. Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night to allow your body to reduce the buildup of proteins associated with Alzheimer’s disease as you sleep.
Eat a balanced diet
Try limiting red meat and sugar, instead focusing on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy proteins (beans, chicken, seafood, eggs). Research has found the Mediterranean and MIND diets to be most effective in reducing the risk of dementia. You can also eat a heart-healthy diet because we know that what’s good for the heart is good for the brain.
Learn new things
Keeping your brain engaged and active helps to reduce your risk for dementia. It’s never too late to learn new skills or hobbies. Stay curious and try something new, such as a new weekly recipe, learn a new language, or take classes at a community center.
Chronic stress impairs brain function and can cause inflammation in the body. Be intentional about diminishing stressors in your life by practicing mindfulness or meditation. You can also make deep breathing a regular habit when you start to feel the stress coming on. Apps like Headspace provide guided meditations and breathing exercises.
Address mental health issues
Some mental health conditions, such as depression and anxiety, are linked to a higher rate of dementia. It’s important to be aware of the warning signs such as racing thoughts, difficulty controlling feelings of worry, recurring feelings of sadness and negative thoughts. If you’re experiencing these signs, it is important to address them and seek treatment from your healthcare provider.
One of the best ways to keep your brain active is to keep up with friends and family. Communicate regularly and try scheduling weekly meet-ups. It is a great way to stimulate your brain and can improve your happiness and well-being. Additionally, ensure that you get regular hearing check-ups and follow recommendations from your healthcare provider.
Work or volunteer
Picking up a part-time job or finding an organization to volunteer with is a great way to keep your brain engaged while making new social connections.
If you notice any changes to your memory, start a brain health conversation with your doctor right away. They can help you assess cognition and make a plan. And if you haven’t noticed any changes, it’s still a good idea to proactively start the conversation about brain health.
Keeping your brain healthy and sharp is one of the best things you can do to make your aging experience a positive one. And all of the tips above also serve to make your days more full and rewarding. So exercise your mind to maximize your enjoyment of life.