Daily Rituals for a Healthy Brain
As we age, the body changes in many ways. The same is true for the brain. While fine lines and wrinkles or joint pain and body aches can be obvious, the aging that happens to the brain can be more subtle, sometimes with very few noticeable signs or symptoms.
The brain controls many aspects of thinking – remembering, planning, organizing, and decision making. These cognitive abilities influence how well we can complete everyday tasks and whether we can live alone safely.
One of the biggest hurdles to finding effective prevention strategies for Alzheimer’s Disease is finding volunteers to participate in current and planned clinical studies. Find out about the Alzheimer’s Disease Prevention Registry and whether you meet the qualifications for current and planned studies.
What’s Normal and What’s Not
While signs of aging are natural, it’s important to understand the difference between normal and worrisome brain aging.
Some changes are common for people as they get older. For example, some older adults may experience:
• Slower recall with names
• Problems multitasking
• Decreased ability to concentrate
However, other signs may indicate something beyond normal aging. Common signs may include:
• Frequently struggling to find words
• Becoming lost while in familiar places
• Requiring assistance with routine activities, for example, keeping track of daily medications
In recent years there has been evidence that certain activities associated with being heart-healthy are also good for brain health. Things like maintaining a healthy weight, eating a balanced diet, and getting daily exercise go a long way in promoting better brain and heart health.
Additionally, things like reducing stress and anxiety, getting a good night’s sleep, successfully managing underlying health conditions, learning new things, and staying social have been shown to improve healthy brain activity.
While physical exercise can help your brain stay healthy, mental exercise often referred to as “brain training,” is equally important. New studies suggest that brain training has helped older adults remain mentally sharper for an additional 10 years.
When combining all these habits, you will achieve the maximum benefit for both your brain and body. However, before making drastic changes to your lifestyle, first, make sure it is safe for you and that you’re communicating with your health care provider.
If you are having cognitive concerns and are worried about your memory, speak with your primary care provider. They can assess your symptoms and refer you to a neurologist.