June is Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness month! Learn about one the most of the important organs that also plays a critical role in how we age—the brain. Check out these fun brain facts and suggestions on what you can do to stay mind fit.
- Your brain is about 2% of your overall body weight but receives 15-20% of your blood supply. Keep the following in mind to protect such a vital part of your body: what’s good for your heart is good for your brain!
Try adopting a heart-healthy diet. The Mediterranean diet for example has shown to have key benefits like reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s and other conditions like heart disease. Eating healthy for your brain means eating healthy for your heart.
- Our brain’s memory storage is equivalent to about a million gigabytes! In other words, it’s basically unlimited.
Memorize something! Exercising your brain to remember something stimulates neural plasticity in the brain, which may create new pathways for cells. Try this by learning a new song and singing it from memory.
- Even as you age, you still need the same amount of sleep. Aim to get seven to nine hours of sleep every night.
Try the following tips to help you get consistent, high-quality sleep.
- Adhere to a regular sleep schedule
- Develop a bedtime routine
- Try making your bedroom a screen-free zone with no TV, cell phone, computer or tablet.
- Vocabulary is one of the only brain skills that gets better with age. Go ahead, be sesquipedalian.
Set aside some time each day to read. Reading is great mental stimulation and exercise for your mind. Having trouble reading the font? Go to your local library or bookstore and inquire about large font books.
- Regular exercise can increase the size of your hippocampus. That’s a key brain area responsible for memory!
Exercise doesn’t have to be intense for it to be beneficial. You can try walking, going to the gym or other physical activities you may enjoy like dancing, tennis or swimming. 30 minutes to an hour of exercise can do wonders for your brain.
- Friendships are amazing for our brains. Why? Maintaining social relationships can help reduce your risk for cognitive decline.
Build social networks and stay connected by trying one of the following suggested activities.
- Plan a recurring group exercise event
- Join an intramural sports team
- Start or join a book club
- Volunteer in your community
- Join one of our MindFit OC programs to meet like-minded individuals
- Mental stimulation can give your brain a workout and create new connections between nerve cells.
There are many ways you can exercise your brain.
- Building puzzles
- Trying math problems
- Playing Sudoku
- Learning a new language
- Playing an instrument
- It’s normal to have more trouble multitasking as you age. Try to focus on one task at a time!
If you have a lot of tasks to do, instead of multitasking, utilize a to-do list. Whether you write it out or use an app on your phone, this will help you keep track of what needs to be done and allow you to focus on one thing at a time.
- Your short-term memory can hold about seven pieces of information, such as a phone number.
Create a mental image of the thing you are trying to remember. For example, if you parked in spot 3B, imagine three bumblebees flying around your car.
- Having a family history of Alzheimer’s may increase your risk, but does not mean that you will get Alzheimer’s for sure.
If you’re concerned about cognitive decline, prioritizing your brain health can reduce your risk and help keep your brain fit. Consider attending one of our MindFit OC classes such as Brain Boot Camp or 4 Weeks to a Better Memory to learn more. See our calendar for free educational courses.
Taking care of your brain can improve your aging experience and can help reduce your risk of cognitive decline.