As we observe another World Alzheimer Day today (September 21), scientists have delivered quite disconcerting news. They say while the disease is common in elderly, it is now slowly penetrating the younger age group people as well. As per the World Health Organisation, in India, more than four million people are suffering from some form of Dementia. Scarily, one in three senior citizens die from Alzheimer or a related form of Dementia.
Alzheimer, as we all know, is the most common form of Dementia in which a patient suffers extreme memory loss. So it’s time we start taking precautions to keep the disease at bay. The best precaution is to increase the activity of brain. An active brain is less likely to lose memory.
We give you some tips to boost your cognitive skills
Be physically active, whatever be the age
Indulge in some form of aerobic exercise daily, be it cycling, walking, dancing, running etc. And preferably exercise out in the open as you will get plenty of oxygen in the park as compared to a room.
Physical exercise helps the brain stay sharp. It increases the supply of oxygen to your brain and reduces the risk for disorders that lead to memory loss, such as diabetes and heart disease. And, exercise also reduces stress hormones.
Nurture social relationships
Maintain relations with family and friends. Researches have shown that having meaningful friendships and a strong support system are as vital for brain as these are for emotional health. A recent study by Harvard School of Public Health has found that people with the active social lives have the slowest rate of memory decline.
In fact, go a step further. Volunteer for an NGO or social organization or join a club. And be regular in their meetings and activities.
Boost your brain
It’s important to keep your brain involved in something or the other. Learn new skills like playing
guitar, making pottery, playing chess, speaking French, dance the tango, or master your golf swing. If nothing, solve a couple of crosswords daily. The idea is to keep your brain challenged and engaged.
Get enough sleep
We all need at least seven hours of sound sleep. You lose out on sleep and you realize that you become cranky, irritable and can’t concentrate on work. Lack of sleep can compromise on memory, creativity, problem-solving abilities and critical thinking.
Get on a regular sleep schedule, and don’t to break it even on weekends and holidays.
Stay away from Stress
Stress is one of the brain’s worst enemies. Over time, it destroys brain cells and damages the hippocampus, the region of the brain involved in the formation of new memories and the retrieval of old ones. Studies have linked stress to memory loss. To keep yourself stress-free, practice meditation.
Laugh out loud, not just lol on screen
Laughter is the best medicine, you know that. It also holds true for the brain and the memory. Laughter engages multiple regions across the whole brain and keeps it active. Join a laughter club, listen to jokes, share your embarrassing moments, spend time with fun, playful people, keep a toy on your desk or in your car, put up a funny poster in your office, choose a computer screensaver that makes you laugh, frame photos of you and your loved ones having fun, pay attention to children and emulate them.
Just as the body needs fuel, so does the brain. Have a diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, “healthy” fats (such as olive oil, nuts, fish) and lean protein, drink green tea and wine (in moderation)