We’re all familiar with the plentiful benefits of exercise. But new research has established yet another plus side to being active. And this one involves protecting your brain from dementia.
The Australian study by scientists at the University of Canberra Research Institute for Sport and Exercise found that certain exercises improved cognitive function in over-50s. These include running, walking, yoga and tai chi, although ultimately any exercise that leaves you breathless is beneficial.
“The findings suggest an exercise program with components of both aerobic and resistance-type training, of at least moderate intensity and at least 45 minutes per session, on as many days of the week as possible, is beneficial to cognitive function in adults aged over 50,” Professor Joseph Northey said.
Check out some other top tips for maintaining your brain’s wellbeing:
Keep it active
A daily crossword, learning a new language, reading books and going to the theatre can all be helpful to keep your brain ticking over. Just remember to keep challenging yourself.
The more activities you do that use your brain, the more complex and the more frequently you do them means a lower risk of dementia.
Get out there and talk to people! Regular interactions with friends, family and other people are believed to help stave off dementia.
If your social circle is small, think about joining a club or group where you’ll be able to meet like-minded people.
Cut down on the booze
Drinking too much alcohol damages your brain, increasing your chances of dementia. In fact. there is a specific condition called “alcohol-related dementia”.
If you are partial to a tipple, keep it to a minimum. That means two standard drinks per day for both men and women.
Feed your brain
A brain healthy diet can also help keep those little grey cells in tip top condition.
So what does that involve? Well, research suggests the foods that are good for your heart and body may also be good for brain health and protect against dementia.
These include foods rich in omega-3 oils such as fish and flaxseed oil and unsaturated fats like olive oil.
Avoid head trauma
Easier said than done, but try to avoid injuries to your head. Those kind of blows can also damage your brain cells, thus increasing chances of dementia.
So, don’t get into fights (duh), buckle up that seat belt and wear a helmet when cycling.
Ditch the fags
We all know that ciggies are not good for you but they are also associated with a higher risk of dementia.
Why? Because cigarettes and cigarette smoke contain more than 4,700 chemical compounds, some of which highly toxic, that can negatively impact your brain.
What are you doing to safeguard your brain’s health?