7 Specific Steps To Help Keep Your Brain Healthier and Reduce Cognitive Decline
In the previous blog post I shared with you five key factors for long-term brain health. These are sleep, eating, exercise, mindfulness and meditation practices, and stress management. Here’s an additional factor to take into consideration: maintaining an active social life well into your retirement years.
Maintaining an active social life with friends and family is critical to cognitive health. According to a study reported in the Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society, cognitive decline was reduced by 70% in people who were frequently socially active compared to those who were more socially isolated.
Poor brain health is more serious than many people realize. In addition to being an important personal issue, brain health is also a major social health issue. According to the American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association, 60% of Americans will develop a brain disease in their lifetime. The two organizations estimate that by 2030 the total cost of Alzheimer’s, dementia, and stroke will exceed $1 trillion.
In a scientific advisory published in the journal Stroke in 2017 by these two organizations, seven specific steps were identified to help individuals keep their brains healthier and reduce their personal risk of cognitive decline as they age:
- Manage blood pressure
- Control cholesterol
- Keep blood sugar normal
- Get physically active
- Eat a healthy diet
- Lose extra weight
- Quit (or never start) smoking
The fact that these same seven steps also help prevent heart disease and stroke is no coincidence. As a bonus, these seven steps are also known to reduce cancer risk and protect the kidneys.
This article is partially excerpted from my award-winning book Better Decisions Better Thinking Better Outcomes: How to go from Mind Full to Mindful Leadership, available on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle formats. The book is the recipient of a Silver Award from the Nonfiction Authors Association for bringing “a comprehensive plan of action for improving life through recognizing decision-making patterns that don’t serve us well, don’t enrich our lives, and don’t bring us to our goals and dreams.” It also received a Distinguished Favorite Award in the 2019 Independent Press Awards leadership category.