Throughout your life, your brain’s job is to help you make sense of the world and to help you manage your daily life. Brain health refers to the ability to remember, learn, plan, concentrate and maintain a clear, active mind. It requires you to be able to use all cognitive strengths of your brain—information management, logic, judgement, and perspective. Brain health is about making the most of your brain functioning while helping to reduce risks to your “thinking” as you age.
Maintaining good brain health can not only enhance your ability to “think” but can also impact your ability to maintain your independence in all your daily activities. Research shows that people can maintain optimal brain health by making key lifestyle changes.
Some recommendations of lifestyle changes are:
- Keep learning. Challenge and activate your mind. New learning in any stage of life will help reduce your risk of cognitive decline and dementia. Speech Therapy can provide appropriate cognitive linguistic activities that promote new learning and cognitive enhancement while providing compensatory strategies to enhance effectiveness.
- Reduce risk factors for cardiovascular disease and stroke — obesity, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Engage in regular cardiovascular exercise that elevates your heart rate and increases blood flow to the brain and body and eat a healthy and balanced diet that is lower in fat and higher in vegetables and fruit. A physical therapist can help tailor an exercise program for you while ensuring optimal safety and effectiveness.
- Protect your brain. Wear a seat belt, use a helmet when playing contact sports or riding a bike, and take steps to prevent falls. Brain injury can raise your risk of cognitive decline and dementia.
- Seek medical treatment if you have symptoms of depression, anxiety, or other mental health concerns. Depression and stress impact memory and thought processing.
- Ensure good sleep patterns. Not getting enough sleep due to conditions like insomnia or sleep apnea may result in problems with memory and thinking.
- Stay socially engaged. Pursue social activities that are meaningful to you. Occupational Therapy can ensure that you are able to stay active and allow you to continue to engage in recreational activities of choice while maintaining meaningful socialization opportunities.
If you would like more information on how the use of exercise, cognitive stimulation, and engagement in recreational activities can optimize brain health and reduce the risk of cognitive decline please reach out to us. Our Speech Therapy, Physical Therapy, and Occupational Therapy departments would love to help you maintain your independence and function and allow you to live your BEST LIFE!