Almost 280,000 Australians have dementia and it’s a number that’s set to double by 2030. But there is something you can do to safeguard yourself against this crippling disease, and it involves starting now.
Try these five activities to boost your brain power and reap the benefits in the years to come. Have some ‘we’ time.
If you’re a naturally solitary person, make sure you prioritise social events and relationships. Research shows that people who are more socially active have on average a lower risk of developing dementia, plus they have a strong support network. It’s as simple as making some small swaps in your life. For example, if you like to hit the treadmill solo, trade one session a week for a group fitness class. Learn a language
. Studies show that people who challenge their brains are more likely to have better cognitive function. Set yourself a test like learning a language. Download some podcasts or enlist in a class with a friend. Not only will your brain benefit from the challenge, you’ll come away with a new skill set. Remember to play.
Research has shown that learning creates new links between brain cells and also helps develop flexible and efficient cognitive skills. There is an abundance of brain training games available, in digital forms, on the internet and in magazines and newspapers in the form of Sudoku puzzles and crosswords. Choose a game you find particularly challenging and enjoyable so you’ll be having fun while improving your brain. Even card games or boardgames with friends will help boost brain activity. Eat brain-boosting food.
Foster your brain health by eating a diet enriched with omega-3 fatty acids. If salmon, tuna and trout aren’t to your taste, try a supplement or up your intake of walnuts, flaxseed oil and pumpkin seeds, all rich sources of omega-3. Polish it off with a mug of green tea, which contains polyphenols - an antioxidant that protects against free radicals that can damage brain cells. Get moving.
When you exercise the body, you exercise the brain. Studies suggest that 40 minutes of physical activity a day has the potential to increase your IQ performance. Exercise has also been shown to help you stay sharp at work and outperform others who are sedentary throughout the day.
Want more? Find out about dementia and ways to keep your mind healthy here
.Sophie Miura is madison's health writer
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