Preventing Alzheimer's Before the Onset
Alzheimer's is a multi-faceted disease and efforts to understand it have followed a variety of paths. One line of research focuses on the endings of nerve cells in the brain, which degenerate as the disease progresses. Lifestyle choices can protect your brain.
Challenge Your Brain
Consider your brain a muscle, and find opportunities to flex it. Read, read, read. Using the brain actually increases the number of dendritic branches that interconnect brain cells. The more we think, the better our brains function, regardless of age. If you are right-handed start writing with your left hand. Change the color of a room or rearrange the furniture so that your mind will have to coordinate or adjust to the change. Stimulate the brain by traveling to a different state. Eat foods that you would never consider eating. Learn a new language.
If you exercise 30 minutes a day, try working out for an additional 30 minutes. Walking improves your memory and supplies oxygen to your brain. Running is a great brain booster. Exercising improves the heart's ability to pump blood more effectively to the brain.
Staying Socially Active
Starting or joining a social group with other elderly peers is one way to become socially active. Enjoying the same interests and outings will boost your immune system. Even routine activities such as gardening, cleaning, or doing laundry with another companion can increase your level of contentment.
Visiting grandchildren or children in hospitals or reading to children at your local library stimulates your brain. Attend a different museums each month with family or friends. Most museums fees are free or reduced for senior citizens.
Volunteer at a community center or non-profit center that can use your expertise.
Staying Mentally Active
Relaxation is the key to controlling your mental state during a stressful time. Getting plenty of sleep and taking a nap at a regularly scheduled time not only relaxes you but keeps your body on a schedule.
Regular meditation, prayer, reflection, and religious practice may immunize you against the damaging effects of stress.
Eliminating stress from your life is a major factor in taking care of your brain and staying mentally active.
Loved Ones and Friends
Commit to spending quality time with loved ones and friends by leading a brain-healthy lifestyle, you may even be able to prevent the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease entirely and slow down, or even reverse, the deterioration of aging.
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