A few times a year Metropolitan Life Insurance Company sends out a wonderful newsletter to account holders. It’s called: Life Advice. And quite often I find myself wanting to share some of the information they provide that in general is geared toward a person’s health and well-being.
The article I found interesting this year talks about keeping your brain young. As I get older I find myself thinking more and more about keeping as much of myself “young” as is humanly possible. I think especially for writers, tips on healthy brain function is most appropriate.
The newsletter said these particular tips were compiled from The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association; Medscape on an article about strokes; and The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology.
Brain, heart and body are all areas that can contribute to cognitive decline if they become unhealthy. I hear people joking about forgetting something and mentioning Alzheimer’s, or old timer’s disease as some refer to it in teasing fashion. But I for one wince at such jokes. Because I’m a worrier, and I worry about dementia and other illnesses like diabetes and stroke.
So I’m going to share some of the thoughts to consider for helping keep your brain young that I gleaned from the latest Life Advice Newsletter.
1. Get Moving—No matter how unappealing do regular cardiovascular exercise that raises your heart rate. The article mentions, walking, biking, and swimming all helps blood flow to the brain. Studies show there is a positive correlation between physical activity and lessened risk of cognitive decline.
2. Consider the power of food—Think of food as a powerful form of medicine. A healthy diet that cuts back on sugar and other processed foods can help stave off numerous diseases. The brain reacts better to a healthy diet.
3. Sound sleep—(boy this is an area I should worry about—I’m an insomniac) Studies on sleep-deprivation correlate with raising the risk of obesity, depression, accidents and brain function decline. (OK—I need to fix my insomnia) Your memory and thinking are negatively affected by not getting enough sleep.
4. Take classes/study—Formal lifetime learning helps prevent dementia and cognitive decline.
5. Say no to smoking—Studies show smoking diminishes your health in so many ways, and smoking hastens cognitive decline.
6. Take care of your heart—According to studies, health conditions which raise the risk of cardiovascular disease or stroke, such as obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, etc, also harm the brain. Much about taking care of your heart goes back to exercise and healthy diet.
7. Protect your head—It stands to reason that head injuries are linked to declining brain function. Using helmets when biking, skiing, horseback riding, skateboarding, etc. guard against a slip and fall that may cause brain injury.
8. Stay engaged—Social well-being helps keep your brain healthy.
9. Seek out challenges—New hobbies, pets, playing cards, crossword puzzles, hand crafts—any new activity that encourages your mind to think and learn will surely benefit your brain now and over time.
10. Become involved—Studies show that a greater sense of purpose may well protect an aging brain.
Lastly this article notes that a person’s willingness to share wisdom and experience helps your brain and sets a good example for younger generations. So my big takeaway from this last part is that what Heartwarmers are doing with doing our informative blogs, and interacting with one another, plus brain-storming, plotting, and writing our books is one big thing we’re all doing to help keep our brains young. I need to exercise more, and sleep better. What about you?