Healthy behaviors that boost brain health

Healthy behaviors that boost brain health

Healthy behaviors that boost brain health

Healthy behaviors that boost brain health:

Do you know the keys to staying sharp?

Take This Quiz and Find Out

Do You Know How to Stay Sharp?
Ask older adults what they fear most about aging and many will put cognitive decline at the top of the list. When researchers at NORC and the West Health Institute, a nonprofit research organization in San Diego, conducted interviews for a survey on perceptions of aging in America, they found that memory loss is the primary concern adults have about aging.

“The fear older adults have of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementing illnesses is real, and probably warranted,” said Denise Park, director of research at the University of Texas Center for Vital Longevity. Millions of Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, which can lead to memory problems, cognitive decline and difficulty with communication. Along with ailments such as heart disease and cancer, dementia is a leading cause of death and disability for older Americans.

That’s the bad news. But there’s good news about brain health, too. Although genetics does play a part in age-related cognitive decline, researchers are discovering that healthy lifestyle choices can go a long way toward improving brain health and reducing the risk of troublesome symptoms. People who are worried about staying sharp needn’t sit back and accept that loss of cognitive function is an inevitable part of aging. Instead, they can take critical steps to boost their brain health.

Adults of all ages can have a positive impact on their brain health by incorporating healthy behaviors and activities into five areas of their lives, according to the Global Council on Brain Health, an AARP-sponsored collaborative of independent scientists, health professionals, scholars and policy experts. These stay-sharp actions are referred to as the five pillars of brain health:

1. Move: Keep physically fit with activities that exercise the body
2. Discover: Keep cognitively fit with activities that exercise the brain
3. Relax: Manage stress by getting ample sleep, practicing relaxation techniques, reducing everyday stressors and giving the brain opportunities to relax and recharge
4. Nourish: Eat foods that nurture the body and the mind
5. Connect: Build social support by interacting often with friends, family and the community

By taking steps each day that support these five pillars, adults of all ages can boost their chances of staying cognitively healthy for as long as possible. How much do you know about the five pillars of brain health and the lifestyle choices you and your parents can make to improve cognitive vitality? The following quiz will help get your head around brain health by highlighting gaps in your knowledge about staying sharp. It will also point you to resources for learning more about the topic.

scroll

01 Nearly all people over age 60 who develop Alzheimer’s disease carry genetic mutations that are known to cause it. 01. Nearly all people over age 60 who develop Alzheimer’s disease carry genetic mutations that are known to cause it. DRAG ANSWER HERE DRAG ANSWER HERE scroll

next

True

False

02 In recent years, the prevalence of dementia among adults age 65 and older in the United States has been: 02. In recent years, the prevalence of dementia among adults age 65 and older in the United States has been: DRAG ANSWER HERE DRAG ANSWER HERE scroll

next

Going down

Staying about the same

Going up

03 Which physical activity is best for brain health? 03. Which physical activity is best for brain health? DRAG ANSWER HERE DRAG ANSWER HERE scroll

next

Weight lifting

Yoga

Aerobic exercise such as walking, jogging, running or swimming

04 Studies have found that activities that stimulate the mind can help the brain stay sharp by improving memory and attention. Which of the following cognitive activities is believed to be the most effective way to help keep the brain sharp? 04. Studies have found that activities that stimulate the mind can help the brain stay sharp by improving memory and attention. Which of the following cognitive activities is believed to be the most effective way to help keep the brain sharp? DRAG ANSWER HERE DRAG ANSWER HERE scroll

next

Doing crossword puzzles

Learning a mentally challenging new skill

Listening to classical music

05 Not getting enough sleep can have a negative impact on memory, mood and cognitive function. As adults age, they need: 05. Not getting enough sleep can have a negative impact on memory, mood and cognitive function. As adults age, they need: DRAG ANSWER HERE DRAG ANSWER HERE scroll

next

More sleep

Less sleep

About the same amount of sleep

06 Stress reduction techniques help relax the body and the mind. They also reduce heart rate, muscle tension and the level of stress hormones in the blood. The most effective stress-reduction technique is: 06. Stress reduction techniques help relax the body and the mind. They also reduce heart rate, muscle tension and the level of stress hormones in the blood. The most effective stress-reduction technique is: DRAG ANSWER HERE DRAG ANSWER HERE scroll

next

Meditation

Visualization

Yoga

Whatever relaxation technique you like best

07 Studies have found a healthy diet can help boost brain health and lower the risk of brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s. One of the most important diet changes older adults can make is: 07. Studies have found a healthy diet can help boost brain health and lower the risk of brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s. One of the most important diet changes older adults can make is: DRAG ANSWER HERE DRAG ANSWER HERE scroll

next

Cut back significantly on high-carbohydrate foods such as whole-wheat bread

Eat plenty of high-protein foods such as lean beef

Eat blueberries and other types of berries regularly

Avoid fats in foods like high-fat fish, such as salmon, and olive oil

08 Having social connections with other people helps maintain thinking skills and slows cognitive decline, but only in-person socializing is valuable. Staying in touch with friends and family via email or social media doesn’t seem to strengthen social connections in a way that would benefit brain health. 08. Having social connections with other people helps maintain thinking skills and slows cognitive decline, but only in-person socializing is valuable. Staying in touch with friends and family via email or social media doesn’t seem to strengthen social connections in a way that would benefit brain health. DRAG ANSWER HERE DRAG ANSWER HERE scroll

next

True

False

For the best experience, please
increase the size of your
browser window!