Time to Keep Your Brain Healthy & Happy!

A few weeks ago we mentioned how we here at the Alzheimer’s Association Central Illinois Chapter love June. This is because June is Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month! We want everyone to join the discussion about Alzheimer’s and help end this disease once and for all.

We all have the same goal: end Alzheimer’s. But sometimes, if you are not directly affected by the disease, it may seem distant from your everyday life. We’re here to tell you that everyone who has a brain is at risk for developing Alzheimer’s. Although that may seem scary, don’t worry. There are habits you can adopt to potentially reduce the risk of cognitive decline.

These habits, presented by the Alzheimer’s Association, are called “10 Ways to Love Your Brain.” This week we will talk about the first five ways to keep your brain active and healthy.

1) Break a sweat — You should engage in regular cardiovascular exercise that elevates your heart rate and increases blood flow to the brain and body. This blood flow brings nutrients to the brain that is essential to well-being. Several studies have found a link between physical activity and reduced risk of cognitive decline.

2) Hit the books — Formal education in any stage of life will help reduce your risk of cognitive decline and dementia. You could take a class at a local college, community center, or even online!

3) Butt out — Evidence shows that smoking increases risk of cognitive decline. Quitting smoking means reducing that risk to levels comparable to those who have not smoked.

4) Follow your heart — Evidence shows that risk factors for cardiovascular disease and stroke (obesity, high blood pressure, and diabetes) negatively impact your cognitive health. If you take care of your heart, your brain might just follow.

5) Heads up! — Brain injury can raise your risk of cognitive decline and dementia. Wear a seat belt, use a helmet when playing contact sports or riding a bike, and take steps to prevent falls.

These are such easy habits we can implement in our day to day lives. So until next time, go hit the gym, learn something new, and buckle up. See you next week!

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