“I don’t have to worry about dementia until I am older, right?”
My short answer…WRONG.
Research has demonstrated that we are “laying the tracks” for dementia as early as our twenties and thirties, so while the symptoms of a dementia may present in older adulthood, supporting brain health and wellness starts much earlier.
So, what can we do to boost brain health and wellness?
5 Brain Health Boosters
There are 5 main brain boosting areas I want to review today. Backed by numerous research studies, these are the things we want to target as earlier as possible:
- Exercise: with proper clearance from your medical doctor, jumping into a fitness routine is a great way to keep the brain healthy. From enhancing memory functions to releasing those feel-good endorphins, a regular exercise routine is good for the mind, body and soul!
- Sleep: sleeping for approximately 6-8 hours per night can do wonders for brain health. Interestingly, sleep is a time when our brains are still highly active, going through what I like to call the “cleaning cycle,” consolidating memories, removing toxins, and optimizing brain connections and functions.
- Nutrition: an apple per day keeps the doctor away- the rest of that phrase goes something like this: “and optimizes brain health and wellness!” The food that we put in our bodies fuels us for the day ahead. If given the right foods, our bodies can think, move, and engage with clarity and focus! Junk food gunks up the pipes, and over time, clouds our thinking and makes us feel sluggish.
- Cognitively Stimulating Activities: while most people think of luminosity or sudoku puzzles when they think of brain boosting activities, I prefer to recommend things that are supported by science. For example, pick up a book on an interesting topic, take it to a park, and spend an hour reading in nature! Perhaps try to get back into an old hobby, or meet up with a friend and try a new activity. Exercising your brain muscle is a great way to keep systems running efficiently.
- Social Engagement: meet a friend for coffee, get a neighborhood walking group started, or join a local book club! Seek out opportunities to meet up with others and connect, as far from screens as possible!