When someone asks you to think about health, wellness and fitness, you usually think about physical health, exercise or nutrition. Throughout a person’s lifetime, they should not only concentrate on improving and maintaining their physical health, but also be working on their cognitive or brain health. Since this is Brain Health Awareness Week, I would like to share a few things you can do to maintain a healthy brain. Getting enough good, quality sleep is important along with eating a heart healthy diet and exercising regularly.
Extension educator Kristin Bogdonas says mindfulness is usually associated with meditation and stress relief, but it can also be a powerful tool when choosing what we eat, how we're eating, and how our choices affect our health. She suggests we take a closer look at how we can apply mindfulness to our everyday eating behaviors.
I have always been an outdoorsy nature person. When I was a kid, I spent most of my time outside – my parents had the hardest time getting me to come back inside at the end of the day. My love of nature continues, and I share my passion for it with anyone who will listen! I always drag my family to state parks, zoos, and botanical gardens. However, times have changed drastically, with the popularization of technology, along with urbanization, and people spend way less time outdoors and around nature.
I recently found this article on the National Institute on Aging website that reinforces a topic of my programming lately – that socialization or social engagement is beneficial for brain health and longevity. I have been focusing on the effects practiced in later life but this article expands that to midlife, so I would like to share it with all of you:
There are many types of dementia, with Alzheimer's Disease (AD) being the most common, accounting for 60-80% of all cases of dementia. Although the biggest risk factor is increasing age, Alzheimer's and other dementias are not a normal process of aging. AD in particular can be difficult to clearly diagnose, and while researchers are discovering more ways like brain imaging and genetic testing to assist with diagnosis, there is still no single test. To date, there is also no cure for AD, but current treatments can lessen the symptoms and improve quality of life.
The complexity of the human brain is nothing short of amazing. The changes which occur in a baby's brain are significant from the time of conception to three years of age. As a caregiver of a baby, it is your goal to support healthy brain development. Here are a few suggestions to help:
When you think of the word stress you can probably easily identify the areas of stress in your daily life - from balancing your family and work, to dealing with finances, to handling family and relationship issues – daily stress is all around us! It is also likely that you can effortlessly identify how stress affects your physical and emotional well-being. You may think of sleep problems, heart disease, and weight gain that are typically associated with stress. But have you considered the effect stress has on your brain?