Spring has sprung! Give your brain a tune-up. We have tips just for you.
“What can I do to make sure I won’t get Alzheimer’s disease?”
It’s a question we hear all the time. While age is the biggest risk factor, it’s been estimated that up to 50 percent of cases of Alzheimer’s disease worldwide may be the result of these lifestyle factors:
- high blood pressure
- physical inactivity
The good news? You can do something to lower the risk no matter your age.
While there are no guarantees, making simple lifestyle changes will help reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s disease. On top of that, they help maintain good brain health as you age as well as fight off other diseases.
This month on Facebook and Twitter we’ve been sharing daily tips that you can easily incorporate into your daily routine. Here are a few of our favourites:
- Grab some almonds or blueberries for your mid-afternoon snack.
The anti-oxidants in blueberries are healthy for both your brain and heart, and almonds are a great source of Omega-3 fatty acids that help fuel your brain.
- It's never too late to quit smoking!
New evidence shows that smokers are at a 45 percent higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease than non-smokers. But even ex-smokers can reduce their risk by not smoking. Kicking the habit will not only help lower your risk but also benefit your overall health.
- Brush your teeth with the other hand
Using your non-dominant hand will force your brain to relearn common activities in a new way and create new brain connections. Mastered brushing your teeth? Try eating with your other hand.
- Are you drinking enough water?
Your brain needs water to function efficiently. Without it, we often have difficulty focusing or remembering. Health Canada doesn’t recommend a daily amount, but drink water regularly to stay hydrated, and carry a water bottle with you when you’re on the go.
- Stay on track with an activity buddy
People who exercise with a buddy are more likely to stay active than those who work out alone. So, choose a friend, family member or co-worker. They’ll keep you motivated and make physical activity more fun.
- Join a book club
Book clubs are a great way to meet new people and stay socially connected. Check your local library for club listings. Better yet, start your own club!
- Wear a helmet
Did you know that 98,444 Canadians sustained a head injury in 2010, alone, and that 77 percent of them were adults? Mounting research shows that head traumas and repetitive concussions are linked to an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease. That’s why it’s important to protect your head at any age. Whether you’re cycling or on a motorbike, playing a contact sport, or skiing, make sure to wear a helmet.
- Tap into the power of music
Research shows that listening to calming music, especially slow, classical music, has a relaxing effect on the body. It slows the pulse and heart rate and lowers blood pressure. If you’re not a fan of classical, a playlist of nature sounds can also be very soothing. If you’re looking to blow off some steam, rocking out to upbeat music and singing along is a great way to release tension.
For more information about how you can live a brain healthy lifestyle and lower your risk of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias:
Last Updated: 06/03/15