These lifestyle changes may help protect the brain as you age.
1. SHORE UP YOUR HEART
Of all the things you can do, reducing the risk of heart disease has the strongest evidence of benefits for the brain. That means treating hypertension, high lipids, cholesterol, obesity and Type 2 diabetes.
2. EMPHASIZE EXERCISE
Physical activity reduces the risk and severity of cognitive decline. Aerobic exercise has been shown to grow the volume of certain brain regions that tend to shrink during aging.
3. LEARN NEW THINGS
Engaging intellectually with the world across a lifetime through activities like writing letters and reading has been linked in brain autopsies to better cognitive health in old age.
4. BE SOCIAL
Richer social lives are associated with higher levels of cognition. Loneliness, conversely, is connected with poorer brain health.
5. TREAT DEPRESSION
Depression in middle age, which when it is most prevalent, is linked to twice the risk of cognitive decline, though it’s not clear if that’s a cause or an effect.
6. SLEEP WELL
Studies have found a relationship between poor sleep and risk of cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s. Improving poor sleep appears to reduce these risks.