New research published in Alzheimer’s & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association indicates that people may be able to reduce their chances of cognitive decline with lifestyle changes. Of course, the risk of some cognitive problems is due to genetic factors, but there is also evidence that various lifestyle factors can help keep your brain healthy. Here are some tips from the Alzheimer’s Association that may reduce your risk of cognitive decline:
1. Exercise Regularly.
Exercising raises your heart rate and increases blood flow to the brain
and body. Consider joining a gym, jogging in your neighborhood, or
increasing movement by routine activities like gardening, cleaning, and
laundry. Also try parking your car further away in the parking lot while
2. Keep Your Mind Active. Education
helps reduce your risk of cognitive decline and dementia. Stimulate your
mind with activities such as puzzles, word games, memory training,
reading, or learning something new.
3. Eat Healthy Foods.
Eating a healthy diet that is lower in fat and higher in fruits and
vegetables can help reduce cognitive decline. Consider following a
Mediterranean diet for meals that are full of whole grains, fresh
produce, fish, and nuts.
4. Stay Social. Being socially
engaged may help your brain health. Studies have shown that the more
social we are, the better we perform on memory and cognition tests. Ways
to keep an active social life are through volunteering, joining a club
or social group, reaching out to neighbors, and getting out in the
5. Manage Stress Levels. Severe or chronic
stress has a negative effect on the brain, and simple tools can minimize
these harmful effects. Try doing breathing exercises, prioritizing
relaxation, meditating, or practicing yoga to mitigate the damaging
effects of stress.
6. Quality Sleep. Not getting enough
sleep can impair your ability to think, problem-solve, and process,
store and recall information. Try getting 8 hours of sleep per night by
establishing a regular sleeping schedule, creating a relaxing bedtime
ritual, and minimizing light and noise before bedtime.
Written by Heather W. Winter, Esquire