Just like yours, my life is hectic. As a mom, a founder of two companies, a board member, a volunteer and the oodles of other jobs that come from being all of those things, I work very hard to keep myself organized. You can imagine my surprise when one day I forgot what time my daughter’s dance class started. I arrived just as the class was ending. Did I miss the memo about the time change this week? I looked confused and finally one of the other dance mom’s kindly told me that I had showed up an hour late. It was a bizarre moment. To this day I still don’t remember the class starting an hour earlier but I walked away knowing that I needed to focus my energy on brain health.
With the aging population there are scientists all over the world racing towards a cure for dementia. Prevalence rates of early-onset Alzheimer’s are climbing and it’s time to focus on prevention strategies. It’s never too early to start boosting your brain reserves, and whatever your age, there is a combination of healthful habits that you can use to keep your brain .
If you remember to do these things now, there’s a better chance that you will remember a lot more later:
Practice good nutrition. Eat for good brain health and choose foods that protect your brain: fish, fruits, vegetables, lean meats, nuts and other healthy fats such as olive oil. Daily nourishing meals improve alertness and help you to retain memories.
Stay physically active. Heart-strengthening aerobic exercise improves memory and even lowers the risk of dementia. Just 30 minutes a day can make a tremendous difference in your brain function.
Sleep. You know that when you don’t get enough good quality sleep, it is difficult to focus the next day. Did you know that your memories of the day are “filed away” in the brain while we get good sleep?
Treat depression and avoid stress. Being overly stressed, or depressed can impact your brain, making it hard for you to focus and concentrate. , Counseling, meditation and other relaxation techniques can all help.
Quit smoking and limit alcohol consumption. Studies have proven that there is a startling 172% increased risk of dementia among heavy smokers! Another reason to butt-out for good. And while a number of studies suggest that drinking in moderation might actually be beneficial, having more than a drink or two per day can be toxic to the brain.
Remember to challenge your mind and memory. An idle mind is the devil’s playground. Mental stimulation encourages new connections between brain cells. Seek out a variety of mentally challenging activities. Learn a new skill—take up an instrument or study a foreign language, Join a club or volunteer. Visit a museum or work a difficult puzzle. Passive activities, such as watching TV, do not offer the same benefits.
By making small changes I have seen improvement in my memory. And although I still forget where I place my keys occasionally I have not had an incident like the forgotten dance class. The choice to get on the brain train will keep my memory strong now and in the future.