Alzheimer’s and dementia are big concerns as people get older, especially if you’ve witnessed a loved one with the disease. While there’s currently no cure for dementia, preventive techniques to keep your mind and body strong are a great place to start.
According to Alzheimer’s research, regular physical exercise can reduce your risk of developing the disease by up to 50%. Exercise can also slow further deterioration in those developing cognitive issues.
Regular exercise stimulates the brain’s ability to maintain old connections and make new ones. To be effective, aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity cardio and strength training each week.
Moderate levels of weight and resistance training can do more than just increase your muscle mass. They also help you maintain brain health. If you’re over age 65, adding 2-3 strength sessions to your weekly routine could cut your risk of dementia by 50%.
Humans are social creatures. We don’t thrive in isolation and neither do our brains. Being engaged socially, such as developing and maintaining a strong social network, may help protect your brain against dementia later in life.
This doesn’t mean you have to be a social butterfly, but you need regular face-to-face connections with someone who cares about you. And don’t forget, it’s never too late to make new friendships.
“Being engaged socially, such as developing and maintaining a strong social network, may help protect your brain against dementia later in life.”
Learn a Musical Instrument
Ready for the ultimate brain exercise? Try learning a musical instrument. It forces your brain to try something it’s unfamiliar with. Research has shown playing an instrument can help keep the mind stronger, improve long-term memory, and increase reaction times.
Take a Cooking Class
Cooking requires your brain to work hard. Reading a recipe, following the directions, measuring ingredients, and slicing vegetables are all good ways to give your brain a workout. If you don’t want to pay for a cooking class, buy a cookbook and try new recipes a couple times a week.
Reading not only benefits your brain, but it also keeps your brain working far better than television. Rather than watching TV for several hours each night, spend an hour reading instead. It can help improve your brain function and even helps you get a better night’s sleep.
Sudoku puzzles exercise your brain by fitting numbers in boxes in a specific order. This can sharpen your thinking skills and improve your brain’s health. Free Sudoku puzzles can be found online or in a local newspaper. Grab a puzzle as you enjoy your coffee or tea each morning.
“Learning a new language at any age can stimulate the brain and prolong brain function.”
Learn a New Language
Learning a new language at any age can stimulate the brain and prolong brain function. Research has shown that people who learn a second language, regardless of when they learned it, had better concentration than those who only knew one language.
Play Board Games
Play board games with your family to exercise your brain and promote family bonding. Plan a family game night to sharpen your mind while having fun.
Games like Chess are proven to lead to higher math scores. Other board games, such as Monopoly, can help improve decision-making skills and sharpen cognitive thinking. All can help prevent dementia.
At LTC Consumer, we care about helping clients be prepared for their needs in retirement. If you don’t have a plan for long-term care, contact us for a free long-term care insurance quote and speak with an LTC Specialist about your options.