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Keeping your mind healthy is something we all need to consider, and there is mounting research showing that there are ways we can stave off some types of dementia; one way is through exercise, like walking!

UCLA’s Longevity Center’s director Gary Small MD, has spent the last two decades researching ways our lifestyle choices effect our memory. In his book, The Alzheimer’s Prevention Program, Small cites a study which shows moderate exercise, like a daily walk, can lower your risk of Alzheimer’s by a significant 45 %.  Dr. Small’s states that, “During physical activity, your body secretes protective chemicals which are thought to spark neurons. There isn’t a guarantee exercise will prevent Alzheimer’s, but the hope is to delay the disease long enough so that you never experience symptoms in your lifetime. ”

What we now know is that prevention is significant. The conclusion with the UCLA study was that if every American adopted one single Alzheimer’s prevention lifestyle change, within 5 years we might expect one million fewer cases than anticipated. Dr. Small’s book outlines a tested 7 day Alzheimer’s prevention program which combines lifestyle strategy changes. You can document your own progress after the 7 day trail, and many people have reported significant benefits; weight loss, better sleep,and clearer and more focused thought processes.

Nutrition is also key; healthy proteins, grains, foods rich in antioxidants and omega 3,s, and the current trend toward a plant based, heart healthy diet, so think beans, veggies, nuts, fruits, oats, flax seed, etc and cutting out the usual culprits, fried foods, fatty foods, sugary foods and drinks and processed foods.

Try taking a 30 minute walk daily. If your at work, walk around the parking lot. At home, grab the family and walk the dog. It is time well spent on your health as a whole, and a step toward Alzheimer’s prevention.

Try these to train your brain:

    Brush your teeth with the opposite hand

    Take a different route to work or school

    Puzzles Sudoku, KenKen, all help your thought processes

Be well!

Shelli Rossignol lmt/cr February 2013  

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