It’s Brain Awareness Week! Celebrate it with us with these tips to reduce dementia risk. Does dementia run in your family? Are you worried that you may be susceptible to the disease as you age? There are many ways to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s and Dementia. As we begin International Brain Week, we are reminded to take steps to promote brain health and stop dementia from taking over our lives.
Taking steps to monitor your health and keep your mind active has been shown to reduce the risk of dementia.
Studies from the Alzheimer’s society state that specific brain and body health activities can help to avoid dementia, even if it runs in your family. Take a look at these 6 tips to maintain a healthy mind and prevent dementia.
1. Keep Your Mind Active
The brain is a muscle. Just like the other muscles in your body, it is important to keep the brain active to maintain its health. There are many ways to keep your mind active; here are a few to consider.
- Try Some Crossword Puzzles – Sodoku and crossword puzzles are a great way to challenge the brain daily.
- Learn Some New Things – It’s never too late to pick up a new skill set. Try something new. Maybe you’ve always wanted to take a ceramics class or learn to play the piano. New activities help to keep the brain active.
- Write Daily – Have you ever tried keeping a journal? Recounting your day on paper, or just writing something daily is a great way to keep the brain active.
2. Stay Socially Active
Your brain likes to interact with other brains, it thrives off social interactions. Social interactions are another way of exercising your brain. When we interact with others, we challenge ourselves to intellectual conversation and debate. We also use our brain to understand and relate to others. We use multiple parts of our brains at once during social interactions.
3. Keep Health In Check
Sometimes things can be wrong with our health, and we have no idea. If you aren’t feeling any symptoms, you may never know there is an issue. Keeping an eye on your health stats is a great way to maintain your health and ultimately help prevent dementia.
We recommend you keeping an eye on your blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and your blood sugar levels, even if you are not prone to issues in these areas.
The brain works on 20% of the blood supply. If there is an issue with the blood, it will also affect the brain functions. It is important to keep the brain fed with the oxygen and nutrients it needs.
Here are a few ways we suggest for you to monitor your health:
- Monitor Your Sleep and Your Sleepiness – Are you feeling more tired than usual? Are you becoming more drowsy in the afternoon, or super tired after you eat? Monitoring your sleep pattern is a great way to keep track of your health. Talk to your doctor if you notice strange patterns with your sleepiness.
- Get a Heart Rate Device – Checking your heart rate will help you to monitor your health. Drastic changes in your heart rate can be a sign of dementia and other diseases.
- Watch Your Cholesterol Intake – Stay away from foods with high cholesterol and be sure to actively watch your cholesterol intake.
4. Eat Healthy
You are what you eat. This goes for your body and your brain. It is important to eat well and have a healthy and balanced diet. Some research shows that Omega-3 fats are good for brain health, but overall healthy diet choices are the actual answer. Here are some specific diet tips that can help prevent dementia
- Get some protein in your diet at least biweekly
- Stay away from excessive sugars and salts. Try these Healthy Eating Tips.
- Eat foods with starches, like bread and potatoes.
- Get your fluids in. Be sure to drink lots of water and sugar free drinks
- Stay away from too many saturated fats
- Veggies! Eat at least five portions of vegetables daily.
- Take your vitamins! Supplements like B6, B12 and vitamins C and E are recommended for a healthy brain
Physical exercise is one of the most recommended ways to reduce your risk of dementia. Stay regular with your physical regiment, make it a habit. Exercising helps the heart and helps to regulate blood circulation. It also helps maintain weight and fat. Exercising also helps your mental health and takes pressures and stress off the brain. Neuromuscular therapy can also help reduce the symptoms of dementia.
Finding an exercise that works for you is very important. Start small and work your way up to more challenging exercises. Here are some suggestions of simple ways to stay active.
Take a Walk
- A light walk will help your brain function. Walking or jogging for around 150 minutes per week will help reduce your chances of Alzheimer’s.
- A recommended 75 minutes of aerobic activity is also great for your brain function. Try riding a bike uphill or going for some laps across the pool.
- Challenge yourself with some resistance workouts. Work your muscles and challenge your body from the inside out. Go outside and do some yard work. Dig in the garden. Do some pushups and situps when you wake up
- Go outside and play – Taking part in outdoor team sports or running groups will help you stay social while also staying active and getting in some easy activity.
6. Stop Smoking and Drink Less Alcohol
Smoking increases your risk of dementia. Smoking also increases the chance of diseases that can trigger dementia, like diabetes, and cancer. Smoking causes problems with blood circulation, and ultimately affects the blood vessels in the brain, the heart, and the lungs.
When done in moderation, drinking won’t necessarily increase your chances of getting dementia, but excessive drinking can cause health problems which may lead to dementia. Cut down on your drinking and monitor your alcohol intake. Excessive alcohol can cause contamination in the blood flow and eventually increase your chances of getting dementia.
Dementia patients can also benefit from neuromuscular therapy with Live Well Rehab which can reduce dementia symptoms significantly. Contact us to meet with an exercise physiologist and discover a world of health.