Thursday, March 22, 2012

WILL NOT FIND ENOUGH TIME IN YOUR LIFE TO FIT IN DEMENTIA

Dementia & Healthy Living

Most of us start worrying about dementia after retirement - and that
may be too little, too late. Experts say that if you really want to
ward off  dementia, you need to start taking care of your  brain in
your 30s and 40s - or even  earlier.

"More and more research is suggesting that lifestyle is very important
to your brain's health," says  Dr. Paul Nussbaum, a neuro-psychologist
and an adjunct associate professor at the University of Pittsburgh
School of Medicine. "If you want to  live a long, healthy life, then
many of us need to start as early as we can."

  So what can you do to beef up your brain - and possibly ward off
dementia?  Nussbaum, who recently gave a speech on the topic for the
Winter Park (Fla.) Health Foundation, offers 20 tips that may help.



  1.
  Join clubs or organizations that need volunteers.  If you start
volunteering now, you won't feel lost and unneeded after you retire.






  2.
  Develop a hobby or two.  Hobbies help you develop a robust brain
because you're trying something new and complex.







  3.
  Practise writing with your non-dominant hand several minutes
everyday.  This will exercise the opposite side of your brain and fire
up those neurons.







  4.
  Take dance lessons.  In a study of nearly 500 people, dancing was
the  only regular physical activity associated with a significant
decrease in the incidence of dementia, including Alzheimer's disease.
The people who danced three or four times a week showed 76 percent
less incidence of dementia than those who danced only once a week or
not at all.






  5.
  Need a hobby? Start gardening.  Researchers in New Zealand found
that, of 1,000 people, those who gardened regularly were less likely
to suffer from dementia!  Not only does gardening reduce stress, but
gardeners use their brains to plan gardens; they use visual  and
spatial reasoning to lay out a  garden.







  6.

  Walking daily can reduce the risk of dementia because cardiovascular
health is important to maintain blood flow to the brain.  Or... buy a
pedometer and walk 10,000 steps a day.








  7.
  Read and write daily.  Reading stimulates a wide variety of brain
areas that process and store information.  Likewise, writing (not
copying) stimulates many areas of the brain as well.






  8.
  Start knitting.  Using both hands works both sides of your brain.
And it's a stress reducer.







  9.
  Learn a new language. Whether it's a foreign language or sign
language,you are  working your brain by making it go back and forth
between one language and the other.   A researcher in England found
that being bilingual seemed to delay symptoms of  Alzheimer's disease
for four years.  And some research suggests that the earlier a child
learns sign language, the higher his IQ - and people with high IQs are
less likely to have dementia. So start them  early.







  10.
  Play board games such as Scrabble and Monopoly.  Not only are you
taxing your brain, you're socializing too.  Playing  solo games, such
as solitaire or online computer brain games can be helpful, but
Nussbaum prefers games that encourage you to socialize too.







  11.
  Take classes throughout your lifetime.  Learning produces structural
and chemical changes in the brain, and education appears to help
people live longer.  Brain researchers have found that people with
advanced degrees live longer - and if they do have Alzheimer's, it
often becomes apparent only in the very later stages of the disease.










  12.
  Listen to classical music.  A growing volume of research suggests
that music may hard wire the brain, building links between the two
hemispheres. Any kind of music may work, but there's some research
that shows positive effects for classical music, though researchers
don't understand why.







  13.
  Learn a musical instrument. It may be harder than it was when you
were a kid, but you'll be developing a dormant part of your brain.







  14.
  Travel.  When you travel (whether it's to a distant vacation spot or
on a different route across town), you're forcing your brain to
navigate a new and complex environment.  A study of London taxi
drivers found experienced drivers had larger brains because they have
to store lots of information about locations and how to navigate
there.






  15.
  Pray.  Daily prayer appears to help your immune system.  And people
who attend a formal worship service regularly live longer and report
happier, healthier lives.








  16.
  Learn to meditate.  It's important for your brain that you learn to
shut out the stresses of everyday life.







  17.
  Get enough sleep. Studies have shown a link between interrupted
sleep and dementia.


  18.
  Eat more foods containing Omega-3 fatty acids: Salmon, sardines,
tuna, ocean trout, mackerel or herring, plus walnuts (which are higher
in omega 3s than salmon) and flaxseed. Flaxseed oil, cod liver oil and
walnut oil are good sources too.







  19.
  Eat more fruits and vegetables. Antioxidants in fruits and
vegetables mop up some of the damage caused by free radicals, one of
the leading killers of brain cells.







  20.
  Eat at least one meal a day with family and friends.   You'll slow
down, socialize, and research shows you'll eat healthier food than if
you ate alone or on the go.



  DOING ALL 20 THINGS LISTED ABOVE AND YOU WILL NOT FIND ENOUGH TIME
IN YOUR LIFE TO FIT IN DEMENTIA AS WELL: IN OTHER WORDS, "CONTINUE TO
DO ALL THE THINGS THAT YOU ALREADY DO AND YOU WILL HAVE COVERED MOST
OF THE THINGS LISTED!"

1 comment:

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