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The 17-day plan to stop aging : a step by step guide to living 100 happy, healthy years
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Play games. Take or teach a class. Learn a new skill or hobby. Work or volunteer. These types of mentally stimulating activities have not been proven to prevent serious cognitive impairment or Alzheimer's disease , but they can be fun! Scientists think that such activities may protect the brain by establishing "cognitive reserve.
Cognitive Health and Older Adults
Formal cognitive training also seems to have benefits. The sessions improved participants' mental skills in the area in which they were trained. Most of these improvements persisted 10 years after the training was completed. Be wary of claims that playing certain computer and online games can improve your memory and other types of thinking. Evidence to back up such claims is evolving.
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NIA and others are supporting research to determine if different types of cognitive training have lasting effects. For more information, see Participating in Activities You Enjoy. Connecting with other people through social activities and community programs can keep your brain active and help you feel less isolated and more engaged with the world around you.
Participating in social activities may lower the risk for some health problems and improve well-being. So, visit with family and friends. Join programs through your Area Agency on Aging , senior center, or other community organizations. We don't know for sure yet if any of these actions can prevent or delay Alzheimer's disease and age—related cognitive decline.
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But some of them have been associated with reduced risk of cognitive impairment and dementia. Others include: Motor function—how well you make and control movements Emotional function—how well you interpret and respond to emotions Sensory function—how well you feel and respond to sensations of touch, including pressure, pain , and temperature This guide focuses on cognitive health and what you can do to help maintain it.
You can: Get recommended health screenings. Manage chronic health problems like diabetes , high blood pressure , depression , and high cholesterol. Consult with your healthcare provider about the medicines you take and possible side effects on memory , sleep , and brain function.
Reduce risk for brain injuries due to falls and other accidents. Limit use of alcohol some medicines can be dangerous when mixed with alcohol. Quit smoking , if you smoke.
Top 3 Tips to Remember
Get enough sleep , generally hours each night. Eat Healthy Foods A healthy diet can help reduce the risk of many chronic diseases, such as heart disease or diabetes.
Get more information about healthy eating for older adults. Be Physically Active Being physically active —through regular exercise, household chores, or other activities—has many benefits. It can help you: Keep and improve your strength Have more energy Improve your balance Prevent or delay heart disease, diabetes, and other diseases Perk up your mood and reduce depression Studies link ongoing physical activity with benefits for the brain, too. Keep Your Mind Active Being intellectually engaged may benefit the brain.