The brainy New Year’s resolution!

The brainy New Year’s resolution!

29 December 2014

In what Alzheimer’s Australia Vic is describing as the brainy New Year’s resolution Maree McCabe, CEO Alzheimer’s Australia Vic is encouraging Australians to take 5 simple steps to maximise their brain health in 2015.

“These include looking after your heart, being physically active, challenging your brain, eating healthily and enjoying social activity. These lifestyle factors have a significant impact on a person’s risk of developing dementia and other chronic diseases,” Ms McCabe said.

“The good news is that it’s never too late for people to modify their lifestyles to lower their risk of dementia. The beginning of 2015 is the perfect time to start.”

Research suggests that up to half the cases of Alzheimer’s disease worldwide are potentially attributable to health and lifestyle factors.

Here are the five tips to help you start the New Year with a brain-healthy lifestyle:

1.Look after your heart – what’s good for your heart is good for your brain

The risk of developing dementia appears to increase as a result of conditions that affect the heart or blood vessels, particularly when these occur at mid-life.

2.Be physically active – exercise gives the brain a healthy boost

Regular physical exercise is associated with better brain function and reduced risk of cognitive decline and dementia. Follow the National Physical Activity Guidelines by building up at least 30 minutes of moderate – intensity physical activity on most – but preferably all – days.

3.Mentally challenge your brain – the brain likes to tackle something it doesn’t know

Scientists have found that challenging the brain with new activities helps to build new

brain cells and strengthen connections between them. The brain benefits by having to tackle something it doesn’t know.

4.Follow a healthy diet – what you eat could affect the brain

Evidence suggests that a healthy, balanced diet may help in maintaining brain health and functionality but more research is needed to understand if there are specific foods that may be able to reduce the risk of dementia. Follow the National Dietary Guidelines.

5.Enjoy social activity – socialising is good for the brain

Social engagement has been found to have benefits for other health factors related to cognitive functioning such as vascular conditions and depression. It is mentally stimulating and may contribute to building brain reserve which then contributes to a lower dementia risk.

You can download the free brain health app, BrainyApp, available on Apple and Android devices.

For more tips about brain health, how to reduce your risk of dementia, visit yourbrainmatters.org.au

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In Victoria almost 78,000 people are living with dementia.

Alzheimer’s Australia Vic is the charity representing people with all forms of dementia in Victoria. As the peak body, we provide specialised dementia information, education and support services. Call our National Dementia Helpline on 1800 100 500 or visit www.fightdementia.org.au/vic

Media contact: Christine Bolt 9816 5772 / 0400 004 553 / christine.bolt@dementia.org.au