What are the things that we can do to increase our brain health?
We celebrate brain health month in March but we like to improve our efforts all year long.
Regular exercise can help with physical health. Physical activity can help with blood flow to the brain and overall health.
- At least 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise (aim for 30 minutes per day)
- Aerobic activities such as dancing, walking or swimming
- Muscle building activities such as heavy gardening (such as digging and shovelling), lifting weights or similar objects or working with resistance bands
- Keeping up with regular exercise can also help with heart, circulatory and lung health
Having an appropriate amount of quality sleep can help reduce stress, allow for the body to heal and mood improvement.
- Getting at least 7-9 hours per night for adults, more for children
- Vital healing tasks are done by the body while you are asleep
- Avoid caffeine and nicotine before bed
- Avoid large meals and beverages before bed – the digestive system works overtime which can make it difficult to fall asleep
- Have the right daylight exposure – light exposure helps with daily sleeping patterns, have at least 30 minutes outside each day
- Visit your GP if you are having issues with sleeping
A well balanced diet can boost immunity, strengthens bones, and helps with bone, digestive and muscle health. Eating healthily can also assist with better sleep and improved mental health.
- Eat a variety of meals and increase the amount of fruit and vegetables you eat
- Have at least 6-8 glasses of water
- For more elderly people, two important food groups to incorporate into your diet are protein and calcium:
- Eating healthy can also help with better sleep
- Protein helps to provide energy and enzymes that are essential for repair and maintenance of body tissue. Examples of protein rich foods are legumes, nuts, seeds, fish and other seafood, eggs, poultry, and/or red meat. A well-balanced diet can boost immunity, strengthen bones, and help with bone, digestive and muscle health.
- Examples of calcium rich foods are yoghurt, cheese, calcium-fortified soy milk, tinned fish (with bones), certain nuts including almonds, brazil and hazelnuts, legumes, tofu, and wholegrain breads
The more active you are mentally, the more your memory is likely to be.
- Some activities can include doing puzzles, word finds, memory activities, reading and mathematics quizzes.
- Your senses are closely linked to your memory. Doing multi-sensory activities such as cooking/baking, painting and playing music can help with memory pairing.
- Utilitse repetition and space out cognitive activities to improve memory and understanding intellectually difficult activities
Keeping and active social life can improve physical, mental and emotional health, communications skills, improved cognitive function, and ability to make decisions.
- Join a local club – keep up your own interests and meet new people
- Keeping family and friends close will allow for a strong support system
- Having an active social life can also ensure that you are being physically active e.g. getting up and out of the house to meet a friend
- Being around people who you enjoy can lessen stress and improve your physical health
- Join a support group – there are several support groups that can help with
Your entire environment, beginning in the home, can have a large effect on the body and your brain health. This can have both physical and mental effects to the individual within that environment (aesthetic, sensory and people factors).
- Eliminating toxins and having a clean space to live will lessen anxiety and ensure that your body will not have to battle potential contaminants.
- Use more environmentally friendly cleaning products within the home with little to no fragrance.
- Plant a garden – use planter boxes and pots if you don’t have a large space. Having a garden will encourage getting outside, eating healthier and creating a calm space to spend your spare time.
- Large crowds and loud noises can be overwhelming for some people. Find calm and serence places like community gardens to spend time if you are feeling overwhelmed.
- Experiencing or seeing nature has been proven to reduce stress, anger, and anxiety.
Having access to good health care is critical to brain health.
- Regular doctors check-ups will ensure that if any changes are occuring, that there will be a noted account and help will be readily available
- If you are unsure about your brain health, get a hold of your GP and ask for advice from trained professionals
- Other health issues such as diabetes, heart complications and high cholestorol can be contributors to brain health