Dr. Argye Hills, MD director of the cerebrovascular division at Johns Hopkins Medicine surpris-ingly discovered that there is not that much difference between an 18-year-old brain and a 100-year-old brain. Help slow down the aging process with these ideas from Johns Hopkins Medi-cine.
- Be active more often. Exercise can help prevent dementia, heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and some cancers. Increasing the number of steps you take by purchasing an inexpensive pedometer usually equates to more activity. Call a friend and take advantage of the local senior center exercise room, walking indoors at the local track, shopping mall, or larger stores. A goal would be to get active 30 minutes per day. It doesn’t take much and every step you takes can lead a healthier life in your late years.
- Improve your diet. Eating a balanced diet that’s high in fiber including many fruits and vege-tables and low in meat, sugar and processed food will help your cells function better. When your cells function better your brain and your muscles function better as well. When your muscles and brain function better you’re more likely to reduce risk of falls, memory loss and more, to help you live a longer life.
- Get quality sleep. Even though quality sleep might get more difficult the older you are, you still need the same hours of sleep. Sleep impacts your memory, emotions, weight and more. According to the National Sleep Foundation, most sleep problems are a result of snoring, medication side effects and underlying medical conditions, such as acid reflux, depression and prostate problems. Addressing those issues with your doctor is a good start. You can also enjoy more satisfying sleep by creating a calming space, dedicating enough time for sleep and practicing relaxation techniques if you’re anxious around bedtime.
- Stop smoking. A good way to kick the habit is to start exercising around the time you’re most likely to crave. Studies have proven that in as little as 24 hours, a person who has quit smok-ing will reduce their risk of a heart attack by almost half. Figuring out what your triggers might help you come up with a plan to quit. Trying to avoid those triggers could reduce the habit as well.
- Challenge your brain. Your brain is wired to learn. What new things will you learn this year? Maybe learn to play a new game with your friends, learn a new skill, hobby or craft. It doesn’t matter what you’re doing, as long as you are engaging the brain in new tasks. Mental health is just as important as physical health.
What can you set your sights on this year? What will help keep you focused on your goal? If you need someone to help keep you accountable, tell a friend or family member your resolution and make sure to write it down. Make this New Year your best!
Emily Lambright is a registered nurse and owner of Embrace Your Health Home Services serv-ing Brand and Hillsdale counties. We provide care to those who want to continue residing in their home but need some additional services and assistance. For more information, call 517-439-4119.