If you’re a current subscriber, log in below. If you would like to subscribe, please click the subscribe tab above.
Username and Password Help
10 activities to practice every day
By Scott Finley
It’s hard to believe we are hitting mid-June already. June is Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month.
Alzheimer’s affects around 400,000 Texans and almost a million and a half caregivers.
While there is not yet a cure for Alzheimer’s, there are things residents can do to
promote brain health. Here’s the big 10 to put into practice every day:
1. Break a sweat. Engage in regular cardiovascular exercise that elevates the heart rate and increases blood flow to the brain and body. Several studies have found an association between physical activity
and reduced risk of cognitive decline.
2. Hit the books. Formal education in any stage of life will help reduce the risk of cognitive decline and dementia. For example, take a class at a local college, community center or online.
3. Butt out. Evidence shows that smoking increases risk of cognitive decline.
Quitting smoking can reduce that risk to levels comparable to those who have not smoked.
4. Follow your heart. Evidence shows that risk factors for cardiovascular disease and
stroke – obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes – negatively impact cognitive health.
Take care of the heart, and the brain just might follow.
5. Heads up! Brain injury can raise the risk of cognitive decline and dementia. Wear a seatbelt, use a helmet when playing contact sports or riding a bike, and take steps to prevent falls.
6. Fuel up right. Eat a healthy and balanced diet that is lower in fat and higher in vegetables and fruit to help reduce the risk of cognitive decline. Although research on diet and cognitive function is limited, certain diets, including Mediterranean and Mediterranean-DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension), may contribute to risk reduction.
7. Catch some Zzz’s. Not getting enough sleep due to conditions like insomnia or sleep apnea may result in problems with memory and thinking.
8. Take care of your mental health. Some studies link a history of depression with increased risk of cognitive decline, so seek medical treatment if you have symptoms of depression, anxiety or other
mental health concerns. Also, try to manage stress.
9. Buddy up. Staying socially engaged may support brain health. Pursue social activities that are meaningful. Find ways to be part of the local community – consider volunteering at a local shelter, join a local choir or help at an afterschool program. Or, just share activities with friends and family.
10. Stump yourself. Challenge and activate the mind. Build a piece of furniture. Complete a jigsaw puzzle. Do something artistic. Play games, such as bridge, that create strategic thinking. Challenging the mind may have short and long-term benefits for the brain.
Also, residents can help by taking part in The Longest Day. It’s held on the date of the summer solstice – this year, June 20th. It’s aimed at starting and continuing the conversation about brain health.
There’s still time to join The Longest Day events for this month.
Go to alz.org/thelongestday to sign up and select an activity to raise funds for the Alzheimer’s Association and support the Alzheimer’s Association’s efforts to advance critically needed research and provide care and support to all those impacted by Alzheimer’s disease.