June is Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month, a time to show support for the millions of people worldwide struggling with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia.
Alzheimer’s is the only leading cause of death that cannot be prevented, cured, or even slowed at this time. Currently 5.8 million Americans are living with this disease. The Alzheimer’s Association encourages these 10 ways to love your brain.
- Break a Sweat: Engage in regular cardiovascular exercise that elevates your heart rate and increases blood flow to the brain and body.
- Butt Out: Smoking increases the risk of cognitive decline, but quitting can reduce the risk to comparable levels of those who have never smoked.
- Heads Up: Wear a seat belt, use a helmet in contact sports or when riding a bike, take steps to prevent falls to avoid brain injuries.
- Catch Some ZZZ’s: Conditions like sleep apnea and insomnia may result in memory and thinking problems.
- Buddy Up: Stay social to support brain health. Consider volunteering, joining clubs, or just participating in activities with friends and family.
- Stump Yourself: Challenge your mind. Build a piece of furniture, complete a jigsaw puzzle, play strategic games. Keeping your mind active has short and long-term brain benefits.
- Hit the Books: Formal education in any stage of life will help reduce cognitive decline risk. So take a class at a local college, a community center, or online.
- Follow Your Heart: The same risk factors for cardiovascular disease and stroke – obesity, high blood pressure, and diabetes – negatively impact your cognitive health as well.
- Fuel Up Right: Eat a healthy and balanced diet that is higher in vegetables and fruits to help reduce cognitive decline.
- Monitor Mental Health: Some studies link a history of depression with an increased risk of cognitive decline, so seek treatment for depression, anxiety, stress, or other mental concerns.
- Start Now: Growing evidence indicates that people can reduce their risk of cognitive decline by adopting key lifestyle habits. When possible, combine these habits to achieve the maximum benefit for your brain and body. It’s never too late or too early to incorporate healthy habits.