Resolve to Exercise Your Brain
Getting in shape tops many New Year's resolution lists, but the
Alliance for Aging Research is encouraging Americans to boost
their brain health, too.
"There is a lot we can do to keep our brains healthy and potentially
prevent or lessen the cognitive decline that often comes with
aging," Daniel Perry, executive director of the nonprofit Alliance
for Aging Research, said in a prepared statement. "We are encouraging
people to take steps to improve brain health as part of their
overall fitness regimen for the New Year."
The Alliance for Aging Research recommends these 10 steps for
improving your brain health.
- Eat a Brain-Healthy Diet. A diet rich in omega-3 fatty
acids (commonly found in fish), protein, antioxidants, fruits
and vegetables and vitamin B; low in trans fats; and with an
appropriate level of carbohydrates will help keep your brain
- Stay Mentally Active. Activities such as learning a
new skill or language, working on crossword puzzles, taking
classes, and learning how to dance can help challenge and maintain
your mental functioning.
- Exercise Regularly. Exercising often can increase circulation,
improve coordination, and help prevent conditions that increase
the risk of dementia such as heart disease, stroke and diabetes.
- Stay Social. Spending time with friends, volunteering,
and traveling can keep your mind active and healthy.
- Get Plenty of Sleep. Not getting enough sleep can have
a negative impact on brain health.
- Manage Stress. Participating in yoga, spending time
with friends, or doing other stress-relieving activities can
help preserve your ability to remember and learn.
- Prevent Brain Injury. Wearing protective head gear
and seat belts can help you avoid head injury, which has been
associated with an increased risk of dementia.
- Control Other Health Conditions. Maintaining a healthy
weight, exercising, eating a well-balanced and nutritious diet,
and controlling stress can help reduce your risk of diseases
that affect your brain, including diabetes, heart disease, high
blood pressure and hypertension.
- Avoid Unhealthy Habits. Smoking, heavy drinking and
use of recreational drugs can increase the risk of dementia
and cognitive decline.
- Consider Your Genes. If your family history puts you
at risk for developing dementia, work with your doctor to find
ways to maintain your brain health to help avoid or slow the
progression of cognitive decline.