January 22nd, 2021

‘Spring clean’ your brain to keep it healthy

By Submitted Article on March 14, 2020.

Submitted by the Alzheimer Society

Many of us worry about our memory. Are we getting dementia? Do we have Alzheimer’s disease? Our natural inclination is to ignore or deny these kinds of thoughts.

How about doing some prevention instead? There are no guarantees, but evidence suggests that a healthy lifestyle helps the brain stay healthy.

There is a lot you can do that may help reduce your risk of getting dementia. Here are some ways to exercise and “spring clean” your brain.

Challenge and Stimulate Your Brain

– Just as physical activity improves your body’s ability to function, challenging your brain regularly may reduce your chances of developing memory problems. Give your brain a regular workout.

– It can be as simple as working your mouse with your less-dominant hand or as complex as learning a new language. The goal is to give your brain a new experience.

– Play chess, word and number puzzles, jigsaws, crosswords and memory games. If you always do the same ones, switch it up!

– Pursue a new interest like learning to play a musical instrument, taking a course or going to the theatre. Read a book or go see a movie.

– Keep up hobbies such as sewing, carpentry or take up a new hobby.

Be socially active

– Staying connected socially helps you stay connected mentally. Research shows that regularly interacting with others may help lessen your risk of developing dementia. Social activity also helps people with dementia stay engaged in life.

– Stay social through work, volunteer activities, travel, hobbies, family and friends.

Follow a healthy lifestyle

– A healthy lifestyle is important to brain health.

– People who exercise regularly are less likely to develop heart disease, stroke and diabetes, which are all associated with an increased risk of dementia.

– Physical activity pumps blood to the brain, which nourishes the cells. As well, regular exercise helps to reduce stress and improve your mood.

– Experiencing some stress is part of everyday life, but when it persists over time, it be damaging to the brain and other cells in your body. By managing or lowering your stress, you can improve your brain health.

– We are all at risk for head injuries. It is important to protect your head, at any age.

– Wear an approved helmet when engaging in sporting activities.

– Falls are one of the major causes of head injuries in older adults. Increase your knowledge of fall risks.

– Our ability to maintain life-long brain health is influenced by the choices we make in our daily lives.

– Get adequate sleep – sleep deprivation can significantly impair your memory, mood and function.

Staying engaged and curious about your world helps keep you feeling vibrant. Life-long learning is key for improving quality of life and for healthy aging.

Whatever you do, start early. The sooner you start, the greater the benefits you’ll reap later on in life.

For more information, contact the Alzheimer Society of Alberta and North West Territories office at 403-329-3766, or visit the office located at #40, 1202 2 Ave. S., Lethbridge.

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