Research suggests that there are things you can do as you age to help maintain memory and thinking (and many of them will also help to keep your body healthy, too). These healthy habits have been formed into what's called the "8 Pillars of Brain Health."
Built on the Pillars of Brain Health, the 8-week guide below will get you well on the path to a healthier you in 2022 and beyond. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to see more tips and resources, too!
Here's how to start adding more physical activity into your life
Here's how to sneak more movement into every day
Music is one great way to help make you MOVE
Exercising is easier when you've got great music to motivate you. So we've put together a playlist of some of our Memory and Aging Program staff favorites – check out our MOVE playlist on Spotify, and enjoy it for free!
Want support in adding physical activity to your life? Consider joining the US POINTER Study, which offers local group sessions focused on exercise, nutrition and brain health.
Eat for better brain health (and a healthier body, too) with the MIND Diet.
Foods that are good for your heart such as, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, lean meats, and fish, are also good for your brain. The MIND diet is specifically designed to support brain health. Try incorporating it into your everyday dishes to start eating well for brain health.
Following these tips for better sleep may improve your brain health.Whether or not you get adequate sleep can have long-term effects on your brain health. Research has found that during sleep the brain clears amyloid, a key protein associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Make sure you get 7 to 8 hours every night.
This week we'll focus on the fourth Pillar of Brain Health, staying mentally stimulated. Here's some insight on how the "use it or lose it" concept applies to brain health, from MAP Post-Doctoral Research Fellow Dominique Popescu, PhD:
"In the research world, we talk about the role of cognitive stimulation in maintaining brain health. So, what does that mean? Basically, it’s the idea of 'use it or lose it.' As we age, people tend to learn fewer and fewer new things and engage in fewer new activities – and maybe even just fewer activities overall. But the more you continue to learn, adapt and grow, the more 'plastic' or 'in shape' your brain remains. So it really comes down to finding ways to remain engaged and empowering yourself to continue to interact with the world and your environment in different ways."
Switch It Up
Read & Learn New Things
Reading is an excellent way to keep your brain healthy, and so is learning new things. Why not combine the two? You can check out e-books, magazines and more on virtually any topic for free on these websites:
connecting with others
getting in some physical activity
Here are a few tips on how to keep your social connections strong, even despite a busy schedule or challenges to getting out.
Tip #1: Make plans in advance.
Being proactive can help ensure you spend time with friends and family regularly. Try setting a standing date (like a morning walk, once-per-week coffee or once-per-month brunch) to ensure you've always got some healthy fun scheduled into your life!
Tip #2: Get involved in a new activity.
Getting involved in a new activity can be a great way to both exercise your mind and meet new people - which can go a long way toward making sure you stay social. Try taking a class in something you're interested in, playing a sport, or joining a book club.
Tip #3: Stay connected on social media and on the phone.
During times when you can't get out much – due to illness, transportation challenges, or other reasons – social media (and good old fashioned phone calls!) offer an alternative way to stay connected with friends and family. Chat on Facebook, pick up the phone, or even set up a video call with a free account on Zoom or other similar service.
Some risks for Alzheimer's, like age and genetics, are out of your control. But others can be minimized. This week in the #BrainHealthyHolidayChallenge, we'll share tips on what you can do to minimize your risks.
Participating in Alzheimer's research can provide benefits for the participant while also benefitting millions of others, too. There are a variety of studies focused on everything from prevention, to early detection, to treatment.
If you're 40+ with normal memory or mild memory loss, you can help in the fight against Alzheimer's. Here's how: butler.org/ALZregistry
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