Brain Health Education
Brain Health: Brain health is a vital part of living well yet is often overlooked. We know diet and exercise will make your heart healthy, but what can be done to make the brain healthy? The brain is a powerful organ that can be kept strong and vibrant through five important health interventions. If these interventions are practiced, many experts and specialists agree the brain will stay healthy longer. These interventions include - Exercise, Mediterranean Lifestyle, Lifelong Learning, Socializing, and Restfulness.
Exercise – Consistent exercise, about 150 minutes each week, is recommended for brain health. According to BrainHQ, exercise increases heart rate, which pumps more oxygen to the brain. Suggestions for brain-healthy exercise include swimming, biking, walking, or jogging, dance classes, jumping jacks, a workout that raises the heart rate.
Mediterranean Lifestyle – This refers to a way of life that includes a brain-healthy diet. It emphasizes fresh, plant-based food prepared simply. The National Institute of Health reports the Mediterranean diet can add up to 3.5 years against the progression of dementia diseases. Memory Matters’ volunteer chef, Kim Baretta, recommends eating more fresh vegetables and fruits, whole grains, legumes, and nuts. She also bakes and sautés with olive oil using fresh herbs, dried spices, fresh garlic and citrus juice, and very little salt. Kim believes good protein is fish and seafood. The Mayo Clinic recommends eating red meat twice a month.
Lifelong Learning – The ongoing, voluntary, and self-motivated pursuit of knowledge for either personal or professional reasons contribute to a healthy brain. Even exploring new ways of doing routine tasks challenges and stimulates the brain like brushing your teeth with your non-dominant hand.
Socializing – Conversing purposefully with friends and family is an important part of keeping the brain healthy and alert. This can be done in person with neighbors and friends, community groups, or on the phone with family and friends who live miles away.
Restfulness – Take 20 minutes a day and let the brain cool down. This can be achieved by meditating or sitting quietly letting your brain completely relax.
Brain Boosters: All adults lose brain cells as we age, but the good news is each person has the power and ability to improve their overall brain health despite their age. Neuroplasticity is the brain’s ability to reorganize neural pathways from experience. Recent brain imaging technologies show that as you receive input through your senses with frequency, intensity, and duration, the brain physically changes structure. How? Brains physically react and adapt in response to challenge. Once structure changes, functions can change. Put simply, “neuroplasticity” is the brain’s ability to change when it’s learning something new that is challenging, like learning to play piano, a new language, or starting a new hobby.
Since 2006, Brain Boosters has been helping people maximize their brainpower, which is why Brain Boosters is offered multiple times a year. “How to” steps are part of the classes and include ways to sharpen focus, create a brain-health lifestyle, relax the brain, become a flexible thinker, memory-enhancing techniques, and how worry affects the brain.
To find out when the next Brain Boosters class will be offered, please go to our Event Calendar.
Location: Memory Matters on Hilton Head and Okatie Pines Retirement Community in Okatie.