Ways to Keep Your Brain Healthy and Lower Your Alzheimer’s Risk
Your brain is one of the most important organs you have. Keeping your brain healthy means you can help reduce age-related decline in your memory, thinking and reasoning, as well as diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
What is Alzheimer’s?
Alzheimer’s is a brain disease and is the most common cause of dementia. It’s a general term used for memory loss and a decline in other abilities that can interfere with daily life. Alzheimer’s disease accounts for 60-80% of dementia cases.
Local Alzheimer’s resources
Did you know there’s an Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center (ADRC) in Madison, Wisconsin? It is one of about 30 National Institute on Aging (NIA)- designated Alzheimer’s Disease Centers across the United States, the only one in Wisconsin, and the only one in the nation focused on geriatric medicine. The Wisconsin ADRC is part of a national strategy to combat Alzheimer’s disease and find a cure by 2025. For more information and to find local resources available, visit adrc.wisc.edu.
Reducing the risk
The good news is that you can do a few things to protect your brain right now to reduce your risk –
1. Physical activity.
Studies show dancing, any style, can get your heart rate up and can help your neural connections between brain cells get stronger.
2. Playing games is for kids of all ages.
Challenging yourself with an online game designed by scientists to train the brain can promote brain health. However, any board game or puzzle that requires strategic thinking can stimulate the brain just as well.
3. Practicing mindfulness.
Stopping activity, steady breathing and quieting the mind for just 27 minutes a day can increase your hippocampus, which is the part of the brain you need for learning and memory. It’s also the area of the brain that shrinks in Alzheimer’s disease. Try using meditation apps on your smartphone to guide your breathing.