Get Your Brain in Shape This Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month
June 29, 2021
All eyes are on the mind this June as we commemorate Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month. This means bringing awareness not only to the disease that affects millions but educating communities on preventative measures that can keep the brain running smoothly for as long as possible. Below you will find the best ways to keep your brain healthy, exercises to keep it strong, and the latest news regarding the brain itself.
Hacks to Keep your Brain healthy
Like any other muscle in your body, it is crucial to keep it healthy using exercise techniques that strengthen how it works. We have compiled a list of the best ways to keep your brain in its best shape for the long run.
One of the most important things that you can do for your brain is staying socially active. According to the Mayo Clinic, creating a community with friends and family that you speak with regularly can help make or break your long-term memory. Social activities help strengthen your memory and your brain because they decrease the risk of depression and stress. Both of these mental health issues contribute to memory loss and brain atrophy.
Exercise is another habit for brain health. Regular, moderate exercise, such as walking up a large hill, is essential for your body’s overall function, including your brain and memory. As described by the Mayo Clinic, older adults who exercise regularly are less likely to show signs of mental decline or develop Alzheimer’s disease. Make sure to schedule workout sessions for 30 to 60 minutes at least a few times a week.
Eat your fruits and veggies
Like regular exercise, a healthy diet has a significant impact on your health both mentally and physically. The Mayo Clinic recommends a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts, fish, and even the occasional glass of wine for added antioxidants. This is referred to as the MIND diet due to its effects on brain health.
Get enough sleep
Overall health leads to brain health. Like diet and exercise, adequate sleep is necessary to keep your brain functioning properly. Sleeping for seven to eight straight hours is the key to proper brain function. According to Harvard Health, the neurological processes that happen during sleep are what impact your brain and cognitive function. That’s why prioritizing sleep and being consistent with your sleep schedule is so important to maintain brain health over time.
Top brain exercises
According to the Alzheimer’s Research and Prevention Foundation, doing mental exercises can help reduce your chances of developing Alzheimer’s disease by up to 70%. However, for an activity to effectively strengthen your brain function, it needs to be engaging, involves multiple senses, and be new to your habits. The following examples are great options to train your brain.
The searching and problem solving involved in putting together a jigsaw puzzle is a great way to strengthen your cognitive skills. As an added challenge, it is best to increase the puzzles’ difficulty over time.
Sudoku is a puzzle involving numbers that work the logical center of your brain. While completing this type of puzzle, you must decipher what correct number goes in which box. It is not only a challenge that will work your brain, but it also requires focus.
Reading is a great and fun way to keep your brain active. Unlike watching television which works your brain passively, reading works your mind to create the story. This stimulates your brain. Plus, continually reading new books will help meet the novel aspect of proper brain exercise criteria.
Playing helps the brain in more than one way. First, the act of participating in the game works your brain’s logical center, while engaging with friends throughout the games helps maintain social activity.
The last example of a brain exercise may surprise you. As reported by AARP, video games can improve memory, focus, and reflex time, especially for older adults. However, this is dependent on the types of games played. It is best to play a variety of games to help improve different cognitive functions. Additionally, you should still maintain your moderate exercise and activity routines because video games require sitting in front of a screen.
Latest Research on the Brain – How your brain works
The latest news for the brain involves mapping its cells. A group of Harvard researchers has mapped out the cells and connections in a tiny piece of brain tissue. According to NBC News, the sample mapped was only half the size of a sesame seed, but it contained over 50,000 cells and 130 million connectors called axons.
The map the team developed is organized using a rainbow of colors, is interactive, and available online. The data that this project has produced is helping researchers further understand memory and skill strengthening. The head scientist, Dr. Jeff Lichtman, predicts that multiple axon connections made to a single neuron indicate a memory strengthened through practice.
The brain is a complex organ that controls your entire body, so it is essential to take the best care possible. Eating healthy and exercising your brain and body is the best way to prevent brain diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia, but there is still so much to learn. Doctors and scientists are still deciphering the mind, but we can still spread awareness about our most complicated organ this June for Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month.