Get a free memory screening and more brain healthy tipsJul 24, 2023 10:21AM ● By Alzheimer’s Foundation of America
It’s never too soon to practice healthy aging; the things we do to keep body and heart healthy.
“Eating right, exercising the body and mind, getting proper sleep and being socially active all contribute to healthy aging and good brain health,” said Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr., president and CEO of the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA). “And it can potentially reduce the risk of developing a dementia-related illness.”
To help individuals be proactive about protecting their brain health, the AFA provides these 10 steps for successful aging.
Eat well. In general, foods that are heart healthy are also brain healthy. Adopt a low-fat diet high in fruits and veggies, like strawberries, blueberries and broccoli. Limit intake of red meats, fried and processed foods, salt and sugar. Take daily vitamins.
Stay active. Physical activity increases blood flow to the brain and can also help improve mood and overall wellbeing. Brisk walking benefits brain health, while aerobics can boost your heart rate, and weight training builds strength and flexibility.
Learn new things. Challenge your brain by starting a new hobby like playing pickleball, learning to speak a foreign language, trying a cooking class, or something you have not done before. Even something as simple as brushing your teeth with your non-dominant hand stimulates the brain by forcing it to think outside of its normal routine.
Get enough sleep. Getting a consistent sleep every night is key; at least seven to nine hours is ideal. Having a good sleep environment is also helpful. Insomnia or sleep apnea can have serious physical effects and negatively affect memory and thinking.
Mind your meds. Medication can affect everyone differently, especially as you age. When getting a new medication or something you have not taken in a while (whether over the counter or prescription), talk to your doctor or pharmacist.
Stop smoking and limit alcohol. Smoking can increase the risk of other serious illnesses, while too much alcohol can impair judgment and cause accidents, including falls.
Stay connected. Maintaining an active social life is very important for brain health, cognitive stimulation and mood. Invite friends and family over for a meal, board games, or just to hang out. Engaging in your community and participating in group activities is also beneficial.
Know your blood pressure. Blood pressure can impact your cognitive functioning. Visit your physician regularly to check your blood pressure and make sure it is in normal range.
See your doctor. Checkups and health screenings are key to managing chronic illnesses, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and obesity, all of which can impact brain health. Speak with your physician about any concerns or questions you have about your health.
Get a memory screening. Our brains need regular checkups, just as other parts of our bodies do. Memory screenings are quick, noninvasive exams for our brains. AFA offers free virtual memory screenings every weekday—visit alzfdn.org or call 866-232-8484 to learn more about getting a free virtual memory screening. You can also talk to your doctor about getting a screening as part of your annual wellness exam.
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