• Get plenty of exercise
• Eat a brain-healthy diet
• Keep your mind active
• Sleep regularly and restfully
• Learn to relax
• Protect your brain
You can download the complete plan from HELPGUIDE.org. Here's the fifth for your convenience.
According to USC’s Dr. Vincent Fortanasce, lifelong stress can double or quadruple your chances of Alzheimer’s disease, yet simple daily tools can minimize its effects. The harmful stress hormone cortisol hampers nerve cell growth and connection and accelerates cognitive decline, premature aging, depression, diabetes, and other assaults on your brain.
Conquer cortisol with these proven techniques:
- Breathe! Stress alters breathing rates and impacts brain oxygen levels. Turn off your stress response with quiet, deep, abdominal breathing. From momentary inhale, hold, and exhale sequences to guided group exercises, restorative breathing is powerful, simple, and free!
- Schedule daily relaxation activities - From a walk in the park or petting your cat to Tai-chi, guided imagery, or yoga, make relaxation a priority. Keeping cortisol under control requires regular effort.
- Stay connected - We are social creatures, and the most connected fare better on tests of memory and cognition. Developing a strong support system through family, friends, exercise groups, clubs, and volunteer activities improves mood and slows cognitive decline.
- Nourish inner peace - Most scientists acknowledge a strong mind-body connection, and various studies associate personal spiritual activities with better cognitive aging. Regular meditation, prayer, reflection, and religious practice may immunize you against the damaging effects of stress.