EXERCISE YOUR BRAIN: Physical and mental exercise have been shown to fight the onset of dementia.
EXERCISE YOUR BRAIN: Physical and mental exercise have been shown to fight the onset of dementia.

Tips to beat dementia

DID YOU know that dementia is the number one killer of Australian women?

With Women's Health Week on this September, why not take some time to check in on the women in your life?

Dementia is a collection of conditions that affect the brain, the most common of which is Alzheimer's disease.

Dementia can happen to anyone, but is more common in individuals over 65 years of age or those with family history.

Unfortunately we still don't know much about what causes it.

There is no guaranteed way of preventing dementia - we can't control our age or genetics, but there are some risk factors that can be minimised through lifestyle changes or medical intervention.

Dementia Australia advocates for a five stage process to keeping your brain healthy.

1. Look after your heart

Many people don't recognise the connection between your heart and brain health, and that by protecting one, we inadvertently strengthen the other.

With heart disease the number two killer of women in Australia it is even more important to take a proactive approach.

Through a nutritious diet, finding opportunities for movement, quitting smoking, increasing our fibre intake, and controlling our cholesterol levels we can ensure not only our heart remains healthy, but the delicate blood vessels in our brain also benefit.

2. Move More

Regular physical activity increases blood flow to the brain, improving function and stimulating brain cell growth.

Look for opportunities for movement in your day.

Every little bit counts.

3. Exercise your brain

Challenging your brain stimulates the creation of new brain cells and strengthens the connections between them.

Find an activity you enjoy - try learning a new language, complete a crossword or puzzle, study something new; whatever exposes your brain to new experiences.

4. Eat Smart

There are no specific foods that have been proven to prevent dementia.

However, certain nutrients have been suggested to lower our risk.

Omega 3 fatty acids, such as those found in fatty fish, and colourful vegetables rich in antioxidants may reduce inflammation in the brain and promote brain cell growth.

5. Be sociable

Getting out and about has been shown to be mentally stimulating and bolsters brain cell reserves that may then protect against future dementia onset.

Why not combine your next social with an opportunity for physical activity and multiply the benefits?

With a few small adjustments to our lifestyle we can not only reduce our dementia risk, but we can live each day with more energy and vitality.

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