New Year’s resolution: support your brain health

Submitted by: Jim Herlihy
Senior Marketing & Communications Director

New Year’s resolutions are an annual tradition for many people. Work out more…eat less…take up a new hobby…

For those who want to do something meaningful that can have long-term benefits, the Alzheimer’s Association suggests that adults – particularly older adults – begin practicing 10 Ways to Love Your Brain to support their own physical and cognitive health.

  1. Break a sweat. Engage in regular cardiovascular exercise that elevates your heart rate and increases blood flow to the brain and body.
  2. Hit the books. Formal education in any stage of life – even a class at a local college or community center – will help reduce your risk of cognitive decline and dementia.
  3. Butt out. Evidence shows that smoking increases risk of cognitive decline.
  4. Follow your heart. Risk factors for cardiovascular disease and stroke – obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes – negatively impact your cognitive health.
  5. Heads up! Brain injury can raise your risk of cognitive decline and dementia. Wear a seatbelt, use a helmet when playing contact sports or riding a bike, and take steps to prevent falls.
  6. Fuel up right. Eat a healthy and balanced diet that is lower in fat and higher in vegetables and fruit to help reduce the risk of cognitive decline.
  7. Catch some Zzz’s. Not getting enough sleep due to conditions like insomnia or sleep apnea may result in problems with memory and thinking.
  8. Take care of your mental health. Some studies link a history of depression with increased risk of cognitive decline, so seek medical treatment if you have symptoms of depression, anxiety or other mental health concerns.
  9. Buddy up. Staying socially engaged may support brain health. Pursue social activities that are meaningful to you.
  10. Stump yourself. Challenging your mind may have short and long-term benefits for your brain. Complete a jigsaw puzzle. Play games, like bridge, that make you think strategically.

To learn more about Alzheimer’s Association programs and services, call the free 24/7 Helpline at 800-272-3900 or visit www.alz.org/co

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