By Traci Miller, Senior Director of Nutrition and Wellness

There are six lifestyle habits that can protect brain health: exercise, nutrition, sleep, challenging the brain, stress management, and staying socially connected. Morrison Living discusses how these factors can improve brain fitness in our interactive education series, Move Your Mind. The methods to maintain cognitive fitness parallel those for heart health.

Since February is Heart Health Month, we will start our six part blog series on brain fitness. This series will also discuss how heart disease may increase the risk for dementia- and what you can do to slow it down and, ultimately, prevent it!

  • Diseases that clog arteries of the heart, also clog vessels in other parts of the body- such as the brain.
  • Damage to the arterial vessels causes inflammation, which reduces blood and oxygen delivery.
  • Reduced inflammation reduces health risk!

One way to decrease inflammation is through physical activity.

In Cleveland Clinic‘s Healthy Brains blog post, the author highlighted the benefits of physical activity. “Exercise improves blood flow and memory; it stimulates chemical changes in the brain that enhance learning, mood, and thinking.”

Harvard Health Publishing has a blog post that expands on this, by adding: “Regular physical activity- any activity, for at least 150 minutes per week, is number one on the list of evidence-based actions you can take. Exercise clearly lowers the risk of dementia, even Alzheimer’s. Studies show that people who exercise more are less likely to develop dementia of any kind, and this stands even for adults with mild cognitive impairment.”

Even moderate movement can be effective. Walking briskly for 20 minutes a day is enough to reduce inflammation. Move more, sit less! #MoveYourMind

Stay tuned for our post on the MIND diet for National Nutrition Month in March. The MIND diet is anti-inflammatory and an important chapter of our #MoveYourMind cognitive health series.