As I have gotten older I find my brain does not serve me as well as it once did. I have had to resort to a number of tricks and tools just short of tying a string around my finger. I figured this was just part of the aging process until I read about some work the Centers for Disease Control is doing called the Healthy Brain Initiative. It turns out you can exercise your brain just like you can work on your abs, or gluts, for a stronger, healthier body.
The CDC estimates that Alzheimer’s disease is now the 6th leading cause of death among American Adults aged 18 and older, and the 5th leading cause of death for those aged 65 and older. If current trends continue, by 2050 as many as 16 million people may be living in the United States with Alzheimer’s disease.
According to the Alzheimer’s Research and Prevention Foundation there are 6 things you can start doing right now to reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s or dementia and to protect your brain. The six pillars for a brain-healthy lifestyle are
- Regular Exercise - include balance and coordination exercises.
- Healthy Diet - have a cup of green tea.
- Mental Stimulation - Learn something new, or try something you think you are not good at.
- Quality Sleep - establish a regular sleep schedule.
- Stress Management - schedule daily relaxation activities.
- Active social life - commit to spending time with friends and family every week even if it's just a telephone conversation.
The library is a natural fit to support many of these activities. It's a great place to meet your neighbor, get a book to read with your grandchild, or learn about something new.
Now if you will excuse me, I am going to put on my sweats and do a crossword puzzle!