What are Alzheimer’s and dementia?
Alzheimer’s is a type of dementia that impacts memory, thinking, and behavior. Eventually, symptoms become severe enough to cause interference with daily activities.
Dementia is a term for memory loss and other cognitive abilities severe enough to interfere with daily life are most typically affected by Alzheimer’s disease. Most dementia cases are caused by Alzheimer’s disease.
Growing older is the biggest risk factor, and people with Alzheimer’s tend to be 60 years old and above. If Alzheimer’s affects a person younger than 60, it is referred to as younger-onset Alzheimer’s. Early-onset Alzheimer’s disease is another name for younger-onset. People with younger-onset Alzheimer’s can have the early, medium, or late stages of the illness.
Being engaged in some regular activities like doing yoga, reading books, and spending time with friends and family, may help lower the risk of dementia. Anyone can try to balance their life and change their lifestyle to lower their risk of dementia or Alzheimer’s while also enhancing their general physical, mental, and emotional well-being.
Here are the best ways to lower the risk of dementia:
1. Engage in Physical Activities:
One of the best strategies to lower your risk of dementia is to engage in regular physical activities. It benefits your heart, blood flow, weight, and mental health. It may be challenging for you to start exercise, or you may worry that it will require you to engage in activities you don’t enjoy.
Being engaged in physical activities that are beneficial for your health is very important. Initially, you can start with fewer activities, and increasing your activities over time may be helpful. Exercise can be divided into two categories – aerobic exercise and strength-training exercises.
Each type of exercise will keep you engaged in physical exercise in different ways. You can lower your risk of dementia by combining the practice of both types of exercise together.
I. Aerobic Exercise and Activities:
Aerobic exercise helps in improving cardiovascular conditioning. The word aerobic means “with oxygen” which is actually breathing and controlling oxygen levels in the muscles to aid them to burn fuel and move.
Aerobic exercises are typically Swimming, Cycling, Walking, Rowing, etc. Your heart, lungs, and blood circulation will all benefit from aerobic exercise, which is also helpful for your brain.
Any activity that causes you to breathe more quickly and feel warmer is considered “moderate intensity” aerobic exercise. Activities that cause you to sweat or eventually become out of breath, making it difficult to speak without halting for air, are considered “vigorous” activities.
Mostly two minutes of moderate-intensity activity are equivalent to one minute of vigorous activity. Try to complete more than an hour of intense activity or at least 3 hours of moderate-intensity exercise each week. If it makes things easier for you, you can divide this task into smaller sessions. Spending more time moving and less time lying down or resting is also a good idea.
The benefits of aerobic exercise:
- improve cardiovascular conditioning.
- Lower the risk of heart disease.
- Increases “good” cholesterol.
- Lowers blood pressure.
- control blood sugar.
- helps in weight loss.
- Improves lung function.
- Lower resting heart rate.
II. Strength Building Activity:
Exercise that builds strength works your muscles (legs, back, stomach, shoulders, arms). This enables you to carry out your daily duties. This kind of exercise also aids in blood circulation, reduces blood sugar levels, and lowers the chance of diabetes, which is a risk factor for dementia. You should preferably engage in strength-training exercises at least twice a week.
You can practice yoga regularly as strength building activity. Yoga can reduce stress and inflammatory factors in people with Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Examples of Strength Building activities include:
- climbing stairs
- lifting weights
- working with resistance bands
- heavy gardening
- hill walking
- push-ups, sit-ups, and squats
Yoga is one of the best strength-building activities. Yoga not only helps in strength-building but also reduces mental stress. It can also help you to increase immunity power.
To know more about yoga benefits, you can read this article: Benefits Of Yoga For Well-Being.
2. Keep your brain active:
Exercise benefits your body in more ways. You should also exercise your brain! It appears that keeping your brain active with fresh challenges increases its capacity to deal with illness and lowers your risk of developing dementia.
To keep your mind sharp, engage in activities you enjoy as regularly as you can. You can try the following ideas:
- Participate in a course on a topic you’re interested in, like food, computers, photography, or something else enjoyable.
- Take up playing a musical instrument.
- Play games like sudoku, crosswords, word searches, and quizzes.
- Study a new language.
- Play cards or board games (or learn card tricks).
- You can write your own fiction or nonfiction book or read hard literature.
- Maintain your social life by joining clubs, volunteering, or hiking groups.
To protect your mental and emotional health, you should also stay in touch with people who are close to you, such as family, friends, or coworkers.
3. Keep a balanced diet:
Following a nutritious, well-balanced diet helps lower your risk of developing dementia as well as other illnesses like cancer, heart disease, stroke, obesity, type 2 diabetes, and more. A general rule for a balanced diet is as follows:
- A daily minimum of five servings of fruit and vegetables.
- Protein at least twice a week, such as oily fish, eggs, or beef.
- Carbohydrates like pasta, potatoes, and bread.
- 6 to 8 glasses of water, low-fat milk, or beverages without added sugar per day.
- Keep away from foods with extra salt or sugar and saturated fat.
4. Don’t smoke:
Blood vessels in your brain can be harmed by smoking, which can also affect blood flow throughout your body. A dementia-like condition may result from this.
You also have a higher risk of developing other diseases like heart disease, stroke, lung cancer, and other cancers. Here are some methods to quit smoking if you currently do this:
- Consult your doctor about quitting smoking
- Use a substitute for nicotine, like lozenges or gum.
- For inspiration to quit, set a date or occasion. One method would be to announce it as a resolution for the new year.
- Take advantage of the support services offered by communities.
5. Stop alcohol consumption:
By drinking alcohol, you run a higher chance of dementia, which can also cause dysfunction of the liver, heart, and stomach, as well as different types of cancer, high blood pressure, anxiety, and depression.
If you frequently consume alcohol, you are prone to the danger of harming your brain and other organs, which raises your dementia risk. Here are tips for reducing or stopping alcohol consumption:
- If you can’t stop the desire to take alcohol, try to set a weekly alcohol consumption limit for yourself and monitor it.
- Try to live a few days each week without drinking.
- Consider drinking lower alcohol beverages.
- Try to rotate between alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks like juice, cola, or water.
- Tell your loved ones of your decision to reduce alcohol consumption and ask for help from them. Especially at social gatherings, this might make this easier to consume less alcohol.
- Utilize certain occasions and dates as motivation. You can resolve to drink less as an example of a new year’s resolution.
6. Visiting doctor frequently:
You must visit the doctor frequently, it becomes more crucial as we become older to maintain good health, particularly throughout middle age before we become old. Keep communicating with your doctor and share any health concerns you have, such as depression, hearing loss, or trouble sleeping, as all of these issues may raise your chance of dementia.