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Boost Your Brain for Better Living

February 8th, 2023

Even though environment and family inheritance can be factors for loss of mental sharpness and some forms of dementia, there are ways to improve your overall brain health. 

1. Be physically active

Brain health is about exercising both your mind and your body. Physical activity pumps blood to the brain, which nourishes the cells with nutrients and oxygen. As well, regular exercise helps to reduce stress and improve your mood. People who exercise regularly are less likely to experience depression, high cholesterol, heart disease, stroke and diabetes – all risks associated with loss of brain health.

  • Add a bit of physical activity to your daily routine. Many experts recommend walking as one of the safest and most effective forms of aerobic exercise. If you are able to, ride a bike, take a swim, or do some slow careful exercise sitting in a chair or led by a recreation leader. 
  • Choose activities that you enjoy, so that you will keep doing them regularly
  • If you have reduced mobility, try activities that can help you maintain your balance and prevent falls, such as gentle yoga or tai chi.
  • Plan to do physical activity with someone else or as part of a group. This way you are more likely to keep active while you also gain the benefits of social interaction.

2. Be socially active 

Research shows that regularly interacting with others may help lower your risk of developing dementia and can also reduce your stress, brighten your mood and keep your relationships healthy.

  • Make the most of your daily opportunities to socialize with others. 
  • Practice small acts of kindness, even if it’s just smiling at someone in the hallway.
  • Find time to help someone out. There are many benefits to volunteering to help out. It can expand your network of friendships and boost your self-confidence.
  • Welcome new experiences. Accept invitations and offer a few yourself. 
  • Keep up your old and new friendships by talking on the phone, chatting online via email or social media, or sending a greeting card.

3. Make Healthy Choices

  • Try to eat a healthy diet of foods you enjoy. Avoid alcohol and smoking.
  • See your doctor when you have health concerns. Don’t wait for them to get worse.
  • Try to get plenty of sleep. Most people need at least seven hours of sleep per night. Sleep deprivation can significantly impair your memory, mood and function.
  • Seek and accept support when you need it. Reach out to a friend or family member that you trust. Talk about what's giving you stress. If symptoms of stress persist, contact your doctor.

4. Challenge your brain

  • Pursue life-long learning. Learn new things and take up new hobbies.
  • Play games. Examples of brain-challenging games can include cards, word puzzles, jigsaws, crosswords, sudoku and bingo. 
  • Engage in cultural activities such as community celebrations, music events, or art shows. After the event, share your thoughts with others.
  • Cross-train your brain. If there are things you’re not good at doing, try to improve them and give your brain some flexibility. Try a variety of challenges instead of sticking to one particular area. 

The best way to succeed in boosting your brain health is to be your own best friend. Congratulate yourself for your efforts. Don’t get discouraged if some things are harder for you than for others. The goal is to be the best you can be for you and to live a happier, healthier life.

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