The Alzheimer’s Association put out information in their first ever conference that it’s never too late to start when it comes to brain health and fitness. The more you take care of your brain health the better chance you have of protecting yourself from the effects of aging — or at least pushing the effects back in time.
Below are a few tips to help keep your brain mentally young:
1. Get up and move. Exercise is good for your body and your brain. The more you move the better your heart circulates blood, and the more blood flow the more your brain gets the necessary oxygen it needs to work efficiently. Your brain uses more oxygen than any other part of your body.
2. Eat your fruit and vegetables. In the Alzheimer’s Association study of 1.836 elderly men and women, those who drank fruit or vegetable juice at least three times a week had a 75% lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s than those who juiced up less than once a week. Another study found that eating plenty of fruits and vegetables might protect against cognitive decline.
3. Mingle. In a study of 2,513 men, those who were socially active were three times less likely to develop dementia than those who had little contact with family and friends. Keeping in touch helps your brain stay engaged.
4. Stimulate your mind. Research from numerous studies, with both mice and humans, has proven that a stimulated mind can build up a reserve against the loss of cells in the future. By playing brain and video games, puzzles, and through learning new skills you develop new brain cells. Do things that require mental work, including solving math problems, learning a new language, drawings, paintings and crafts.
5. Watch your alcohol consumption. Anything abused, whether it is alcohol or drugs can damage your brain. Drinking is fine, but in moderation, so limit the amount of drinks to 1-2 a day. In a study of 471 adult children of Alzheimer’s patients, moderate drinkers and those who exercised regularly scored better on memory, problem solving and other mental tasks than those who didn’t drink or exercise.
6. Sleep, but don’t oversleep. Getting proper sleep is definitely a brain enhancer, but getting too much sleep can be harmful. Get 6-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep a night to eliminate the “brain fog” and avoid other health issues.
Changing your routine will help your brain work better. It works to cross-train your brain and allows it to utilize other areas. By doing these simple things you will keep your mind young and help to fight off dementia and other mental problems later in life. It’s never too late to start.
About the author:
Ron White is a two-time U.S.A. Memory Champion and memory training expert. As a memory keynote speaker he travels the world to speak before large groups or small company seminars, demonstrating his memory skills and teaching others how to improve their memory, and how important a good memory is in all phases of your life. His CDs and memory products are also available online at BrainAthlete.com.
Readers Digest — Keep Your Brain Young, September 2005, page 59
Harvard Medical School, Family Health Guide — 12 ways to keep your brain young: