Have you ever had a conversation with your doctor about your brain health?
Well I personally have not. In fact, nearly 60 % of us think Alzheimer’s, one form of cognitive decline, is just a natural part of getting older, according to a national survey. Fortunately, that is not true. According to Richard Isaacson, M.D., Alzheimer’s is a disease and not an inevitable accompaniment with aging.
The good news is that we can play an active role in reducing our risk of cognitive issues. And we can begin to take charge of it right now.
All we need to do to address our mind today is to adopt these 4 key habits:
- Move Around. Get your blood pumping with 20 to 30 minutes of purposeful activity; anything that ups your heart rate. Do strength training by completing 2 short sessions of resistance training a week; weights, squats, and lunges work. Stay active AM to PM. Do things to constantly move such as walk instead of drive to the ATM.
- Let Your Mind Play. Thinking in a new or deeper way can help shore up your mental prowess. This was an interesting point…pressing through and doing more isn’t always helpful. The more information we take in, the more shallowly we think. So getting away for a few minutes can quiet some of the thinking that’s valuable to our brain. Step away to clear your head. Find a new route when you’re on your daily walk. Try something different like engaging in one or two new activities per day, exploring a different type of book genre, or eating a food you’ve never had before.
- Set Up an Ideal Snoozing Scenario. This is the time your brain does its housekeeping. Change the way you think about bedtime. Getting less sleep is definitely not a virtue, and sleep isn’t an activity you should cut when time gets tight. (I need to take note of this one!) Your routine and environment matter when it comes to snoozing better. For example, light can confuse your natural sleep/wake cycles, so use blinds or blackout shades to ensure you sleep in a dark, quiet room. And banish TV’s, phones, and iPads from the bedroom.
- Do Right by Your Heart, and Your Brain Will Also Benefit. All those healthy moves you’re making to keep your heart in shape? Well, your brain loves them too. Know your numbers. For example, the risk factors for Alzheimer’s are similar to those for heart disease such as High blood pressure, off-kilter cholesterol numbers, obesity, and diabetes. So keep your numbers in check. Try eating the Mediterranean way. It has been found that this heart-healthy eating pattern is associated with a reduced risk of cognitive decline. Pile your plates with whole grains, fruits and vegetables, fish and nuts. Cook with olive oil, and consider meat a condiment.
What this boils down to is that we need to love, feed, and care for the most overworked and overlooked body part…the brain. I most definitely will be making changes to my diet as well as my snoozing scenario.
So, join the dialogue and let us know your thoughts about boosting our brain power.
As always, I am…the newly boosted Boomer Explorer.