1. Social interactions/engagement – staying active in the community is beneficial for one’s health; some examples could be volunteering your time at the local YMCA, book clubs or working part-time are significant ways in staying actively social and overall, boosting your quality of life through meaningful activities.
2. Intellectual activity – crossword puzzles, chess, board games, puzzles, and even building your own furniture are brain-stimulating activities. One must keep their minds sharp through brain-stimulating hobbies!
3. Physical or cardiovascular exercise for example like running, rowing, hiking or swimming will help elevate your heart rate and increase blood flow to the body and more importantly, to your brain. There are many benefits of working out as it decreases high blood pressure, preventing the development of diabetes, and lowers your high cholesterol. Do it, sweat it out!
4. Healthy eats – healthy balanced diets are crucial to longevity. Limit your intake of saturated fats and sugars. There are two types of foods, the DASH (Dietary Approach to Stopping Hypertension) that consists of vegetables, fruits, and low-fat dairy have shown to reduce the risk of hypertension, heart attacks, and strokes. The Mediterranean MIND diet includes very little red meat, high in healthy fats, poultry, green leafy vegetables, spices like turmeric, whole grains, olive oil, nuts, and omega 3’s have been shown to decrease the risk of heart disease and cancer. Studies have shown that seniors who follow the Mediterranean MIND diet have reduced their chances of developing Alzheimer’s by 53%!
5. Butts Out – quit smoking can help reduce the risk of cognitive degradation as studies have shown that there are increased health risks and factors from smoking cigarettes. It is never too late to quit smoking!
6. Catching some zzz’s– protect your grey cells by getting a good night’s rest! When we are sleeping during the deep sleep phase (where memories are stored), the brain sweeps out excessive amyloid proteins. However, when sleep is interrupted due to sleep apnea or insomnia causing memory and thinking issues; amyloid proteins build up and plaque forms on the brain tissue. Sleeping is essential in recharging your brain cells!
7. Taking care of your mental health – seek out medical treatment plans and therapy if there are symptoms of depression, mental health concerns, or anxiety. It is also important to try to manage stress by going to meditation or yoga classes; the holistic approach decreases one’s stress levels. Seeking professional health will also help reduce stress and any mental health-related issues that may arise.
8. Back to school – take a class at your local community center or university. Or any educational courses can help reduce the risk of cognitive degradation.
9. Protect your brain– brain injuries can increase the risk of cognitive decline. Please wear a helmet on your next bike ride, wearing your seat belt every time you get into the car, and fall-proofing your home!
10. Challenge accepted – activate and challenge your mind for example through yoga, sports, crosswords, Sudoku, card games that make you think strategically. Other mind challenging activities include creating something artistic like painting or through pottery making. There are many long and short-term benefits in exercising and maintain your healthy brain!