You wear sunscreen, don’t smoke and eat all your vegetables. That’s great! But when it comes to your health, what have you done for your BRAIN lately?
Dr. Daniel G. Amen is a psychiatrist-neuroscientist and author of the book Making a Good Brain Great. And he says keeping your brain fit has a profound effect on everything you do, so you operate better as a human being. Here are his tips on nurturing you noggin, courtesy of Woman’s Day magazine.
- DO keep moving. A six-year study of over 17-hundred people found that those who exercised as little as 15 minutes a day, 3 times a week, reduced their risk of developing dementia by 30%. Also, combining physical exercise with mental exercise has even greater benefits. Dr. Amen says tennis and dancing are ideal sports because they blend movement and coordination while raising your heart rate.
- DO relax constructively. Your brain needs relxation just as much as it needs stimulation. Harvard researchers found that people who meditate for 40 minutes a day can increase activity in the part of the brain responsible for attention and stimulation. Yoga and tai chi are two more great ways to relax your brain constructively.w
- DON’T drink too much alcohol. Dr. Amen says a SMALL amount – say a glass of wine once a week, may actually help reduce your risk of dementia by up to 70%. But alcohol is a toxin – and more than that can be problematic. Brain scans show that heavy social drinking affects brain structure and hurts your thinking ability.
- DON’T stay holed up watching TV. The truth is, watching TV involves less mental and physical exercise than SLEEPING! And what’s more, it tends to be a solitary pastime. But socializing with other people has repeatedly been found to fuel your brain and improve your emotional outlook. So pass up that rerun of “Friends” for a visit with your real friends.