- by Medical Group of Pennsylvania
Research suggests there are many factors that can lead to developing Alzheimer's disease. While genetic risk factors are out of our control, there are a number of best practices you can incorporate into your lifestyle to give yourself the best chance at staying healthy.
It’s no secret that staying active is good for your health and your mind. According to the Alzheimer’s Research & Prevention Foundation, regular physical exercise can reduce your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease by up to 50 percent. Doctors recommend aiming for 150 minutes of moderate activity each week. Walking and swimming are great low-impact activities for any age. Think outside the box – housework, gardening and yard work can double as exercise!
Humans are highly social creatures. Many of us become more isolated as we get older, but it’s never too late to meet others and develop new friendships. Try volunteering at a local nonprofit or joining a club at your community center. Spend time getting to know your neighbors or join a knitting group at the library. The possibilities are endless!
By improving your eating habits, you can protect your brain and decrease inflammation in your body. Avoid processed foods, cut down on sugar and eat more fruits and vegetables. Learn how to read nutrition labels and watch for packaged food high in sugar or sodium. Try swapping your soda for green tea or water to help stay well hydrated. Several epidemiological studies show that eating a Mediterranean diet dramatically reduces the risk of cognitive impairment and Alzheimer's disease.
Catch some ZZZs
Sleep is a critical component to staying healthy! Try to establish a regular sleep cycle so your body has a routine to expect. Power down your electronics and keep them out of the bedroom if possible (we know it’s hard).
We can’t stress this enough; chronic or persistent stress can take a heavy toll on the brain, leading to shrinkage in a key memory area, hampering nerve cell growth, and increasing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Use this great resource to learn how to use self-help techniques to manage your stress.