7 Routine Exercises to Keep Dementia at Bay
Dementia affects over 50 million people worldwide, according to research from the World Health Organization. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia, contributing to nearly 70% of cases, but dementia has many forms.
Dementia is a complex disease, making it difficult to pinpoint a single cause. Between genetics, age, and environmental effects, there is a multitude of risk factors. Though many of these may be out of our control, ways exist to prevent early onset memory loss.
Below are some key exercise tips to help keep dementia at bay.
Interestingly, taking care of the body is one of the best ways to take care of the mind. Many of the routine exercises used to prevent dementia are purely physical, including activity, healthy diet, and adequate sleep.
Our first exercise to prevent dementia is exactly that: exercise. According to the Alzheimer’s Society, exercising regularly can reduce your risk of developing dementia by up to 30 percent, not to mention the added health benefits.
As specialists in mental care, we recommend 150 minutes of mild to moderate exercise each week, with a combination of cardiovascular and strength training. Whether you choose walking, running, swimming, weightlifting or yoga, regular exercise will make you (and your mind) feel better.
Get Adequate Sleep
Doctors have found that sleeping well is linked to a reduced risk of dementia. However, adequate is the operative word here. Sleeping too much, or having disrupted sleep, can be a trigger for memory loss related diseases.
Consume a Mediterranean Diet
A healthy diet can reduce the risk of dementia, among other illnesses. A Mediterranean diet is comprised of a high amount of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes, a moderate amount of fish and dairy products, and a low amount of meat and sugar.
It is believed that strictly following this diet can result in a slower decline of memory. In addition to reducing the risk of dementia, this diet is also associated with lower levels of cardiovascular disease and strokes.
Though physical exercise plays a significant role when it comes to reducing the risk of dementia, exercises that stimulate the mind are equally important. From reading a book or learning an instrument, to just chatting with a friend, here are some recommendations to consider for mental exercises.
Read a Book
Reading is one of the best ways to exercise your mind. Reading a book makes your brain work in a different way than it does when watching TV. We recommend replacing an hour of TV with an hour of reading, especially right before bed.
Learn a Musical Instrument
Some experts think that learning to play a musical instrument is the best exercise that your brain can do to prevent dementia, as it’s something completely different that the mind must adapt to.
It can help keep the mind sharp and improve memory. Some studies even suggest that those who play instruments react more quickly than those who do not.
Complete a Puzzle
Puzzles are a great way to exercise the mind. Just about any puzzle works, so feel free to choose the kind you like, whether it’s a crossword, Sudoku, or a jigsaw puzzle.
The benefits of an active social life should not be understated when it comes to dementia. A study conducted by University College London has found that social activity in your 50s and 60s can lower the risk of dementia later on in life.
So, have coffee with a friend, join a hobby club, or finally host that dinner party – your brain will thank you!
While the causes of dementia are complex, it’s encouraging to know that there are ways to lower your risk that you can implement into your daily routine today.
What do you do to keep your mind and body active? Do you do any exercise for the purpose to prevent dementia? Do you think they help? Please share in the comments below.