Exercise Your Brain

Posted on

Feb 09, 2014

Book/Edition

Utah - Utah

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Cant remember why you walked downstairs to the kitchen? Forget where you last put your glasses? By age 60, more than half of adults have concerns about their memory. Advancing age means an elevated risk for various debilitating diseases and conditions like Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia, but minor memory lapses can also be the result of normal age-related changes in the structure and function of the brain.
Memory changes can be frustrating and for those with a form of dementia they can be life-altering. However, studies have shown that you can prevent age-related cognitive decline and reduce the risk of dementia by adopting healthy habits including:


Eat a balanced diet. A general rule of thumb is that foods that are good for your heart are also good for your brain fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins like fish. Dehydration or drinking too much alcohol can cause confusion and memory loss.
Stay physically active. Physical activity gets your blood pumping, bringing oxygen and nutrients to the brain. Aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity every other day.
Maintain social connections. Social interaction helps reduce stress and depression, both of which can contribute to memory loss. Make time to get together with loved ones or consider joining a community group or club, especially if you live alone.
Get organized. Take advantage of calendars, maps, planners and address books to record appointments, tasks and other routine information. Make sure to-do lists are current, checking off items as you complete them. Keep your wallet, keys, glasses and other important items you use often in a designated area.
Get enough sleep. Scientists hypothesize that deep sleep and dreaming are necessary for learning and memory consolidation.
Exercise your brain. Just as physical activity keeps your body fit, mental stimulation helps keep your brain in shape, strengthening communication pathways. Keep your mind sharp by engaging all five primary cognitive domains: memory, executive functioning, visual-spatial perception, attention and language. Pursue a hobby or learn a new skill.

If memory loss is interfering with your ability to complete your usual daily activities, consult with your doctor. Though there is no cure for Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia there are lifestyle changes you can make to maximize quality of life, including many of the above. Cognitive stimulation, in particular, has emerged as a promising treatment for reducing the functional decline associated with dementia.
Editor's Note: This article was submitted by Mark Bowman of Home Care Assistance of Utah For more information call 801-733-6100

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