We get this question all the time. Do you sometimes forget where you put your car keys? Do you worry too much? Is it true that crossword puzzles can help prevent Alzheimer’s?
In summary, the scientific literature recommends the following 4 pillars for Brain Health: work out, eat well, stimulate your brain, and reduce chronic stress.
Any good brain health program must provide you a variety of new challenges over time. Recreational activities like bridge, classes, and crossword puzzles can work your brain and be fun, but a comprehensive scientifically-based program will easily provide you the tools you need to take care of your brain for the rest of your life. A computer-based program can work all of your mental muscles systematically and regularly. It provides novelty, challenge, and stretching practice for your mind.
You may be surprised to hear this…but stress reduction is another major concern. Maintaining your exercise routine and social networks will help a lot in this regard. Make social appointments to go for a walk with a friend or family member. Get a dog. Write letters to friends you haven’t talked to in synapse xt ages. Volunteer in your community. Take ballroom dancing lessons. All these activities will help keep you mentally engaged, physically fit, and socially active.
Let’s now review each of the four essential pillars to maintaining a healthy brain that functions better now and lasts longer. Those pillars are Physical Exercise, Mental Exercise, Good Nutrition and Stress Management.
Physical Exercise: Start by talking to your doctor, especially if you are not currently physically active, have special health concerns, or are making significant changes to your current program. Set a goal that you can achieve. Do something you enjoy for even just 15 minutes a day. You can always add more time and activities later. Schedule exercise into your daily routine. It will be become a habit faster if you do.
If you can only do one thing, do something cardiovascular, meaning something that gets your heart beating faster. This includes walking, running, skiing, swimming, biking, hiking, tennis, basketball, playing tag, ultimate frisbee, and other similar sports/activities.
Mental Exercise: Be curious! Get to know your local library and community college, look for local organizations or churches that offer classes or workshops. Do a variety of things, including things you aren’t good at (if you like to sing, try painting too). Work puzzles like crosswords and sudoko or play games like chess and bridge. Try a computerized brain fitness program for a customized workout.
If you can only do one thing, learn something new every day.
Good Nutrition: Eat a variety of foods of different colors without a lot of added ingredients or processes. Add some cold-water fish to diet (tuna, salmon, mackerel, halibut, sardines, and herring) which contain omega-3 fatty acids. Learn what a portion-size is, so you don’t overeat. Try to eat more foods low on the Glycemic Index.