20+ Simple tips to keep you healthy: Feel good about yourself today

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One in three boomers will develop Alzheimer’s during their lifetime.

If you’re like most people, you want to avoid that fate by staying physically and mentally active – not only for your own sake but also because the more able you are when you age, the better it is for everyone around you. Here are 20 tips tohelp you get there.

1) Stay active.

The amount and kind of activity you need to do depends on your health, but everyone needs to stay active as they age. Being sedentary can lead to a number of problems, including obesity and diabetes, which both raise the risk for Alzheimer’s disease. People who exercise regularly also have better cardiovascular health and strength than those who don’t exercise at all – key physical fitness components that protect the brain from dementia or other cognitive decline. Volunteer work is a great way to help others and be more physically active at the same time.

2) Work out your mental muscles .

Sure it can be tough keeping up with technology these days, but if you want your brainpower to remain razor-sharp, you need to keep your intellectual powers honed with cognitive exercises.

3) Reduce stress .

Whether it’s work related or the result of some other problem in your life, there are steps you can take to reduce the anxiety and physical reactions associated with daily hassles. Some options include going for a walk instead of sending an angry email, taking a yoga class, meditating or even just doing deep breathing exercises.

4) Eat well .

While a nutritious diet doesn’t guarantee that you won’t get Alzheimer’s disease, a poor diet can increase your risk factors for developing dementia. Healthy meals – low in fat and high in good carbs such as fruits and vegetables – have been shown to boost brain power by increasing blood flowto the brain.

5) Take care of your hearing and vision .

Don’t let your senses go to pot. Get regular checkups from an eye doctor to make sure any age-related macular degeneration or glaucoma is caught in time for treatment. The same goes for a good dentist who can spot a possible problem with your jaw joint, know as temporomandibular disorder (TMD), which could lead to dementia if left untreated.

6) Control high blood pressure.

High blood pressure has been linked to Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, so be sure you get it under control through diet, exercise and medication if necessary. A study at Wake Forest University School of Medicine showed that people onmedication for hypertension had a much lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease than those who didn’t take medication.

7) Keep your cholesterol under control .

Follow a heart-healthy diet and exercise regularly to keep your LDL cholesterol as low as possible. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, people with high LDL cholesterol have triple the risk of developing dementia.

8) Maintain a healthy weight .

Being overweight or obese can lead to many diseases and conditions, including Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular problems, both of which raise the risk for Alzheimer’s disease. It may be time to join a walking club (or any typeof regular physical activity you enjoy), go on that diet or start working out at home with simple resistance exercises like pushups and situps.

9) Keep your blood pressure under control .

High blood pressure can lead to a number of conditions that increase the risk for Alzheimer’s disease, including heart disease and stroke. Get this health concern under control with lifestyle changes or medicationif necessary.

10) Reduce stress.

It may not be as easy as taking a walk outdoors or deep breathing exercises, but reducing stress is one of the best ways to avoid cognitive decline as you age . Look for activities you enjoy such as hobbies, learning something new, listening to musicwith lyricsor spending time with friends and family members who make you happy – anythingthat soothes and relaxes you will do the trick.11) Get your thyroid hormone levels checked.

If you suffer from depression or other mood swings, ask your doctor to test the thyroid function in your body – it could be a condition called “subclinical hypothyroidism,” which can lead to cognitive decline. If you’re found to have an underactivethyroid (hypothyroidism), taking synthetic thyroxine can help reverse any mental symptoms such as memory loss or depression.

12) Learn something new .

Try taking classes with themes that interest you, whether it’s how to speak Spanishor mastering the art of making macram e placemats. Learning is meantto stimulate and challenge aging minds. You never know who may become one of your lifelong friends through a classyou take as a senior.

13) Stay social .

Take part in activities that get you out of the house and bring you intocontact with people . It could be as informal as joining an over-50s club,or it might mean scheduling a weekly appointment at a local senior center for conversation and fun. The more time you spend among othersenjoying your golden years , the less likely you are to become lonelyand depressed – two conditions linked to cognitive decline.14) Exercise regularly .

We’re not talking about grand mal exercise here, but something pleasurable such as dancing or playing sports you used to do when you were younger. In additionto getting your heart pumping outside of the gym, regular physical activity stimulates neuralgrowth in the brain, provides a workout for your body and reduces stress levels.

15) Avoid alcohol.

While moderate drinking – one drink per day for womenand two drinks per day for men – may actually decreasethe risk of heart disease, it can also increase the risk of developing dementia later on , especially if you have certain genetic variations that makeyou more susceptibleto brain damage from alcohol . 16) Get enough daily vitamins and minerals.

Vitamins B , D and E come with a “gold star” for their ability to reduce cognitive decline, but a numberof othersupplementsare important for keeping your mind sharp as well. Some people may need additionalomega-3 fatty acidsfor optimalcognitive function as theyage, whileothers may find that vitamin Dis low in their system (which canlead to problems like depression). Talk with your doctor about whether you should take a multivitamin , fish oil, vitamin Eor calcium supplement.

17) Get some sunshine every day.

As well as providing the vitamin D needed for strong bones and reducingthe risk of heart disease, exposure to sunlight has been linked withlower rates of cognitive declinein older people . If you live in an area where the winter is long and dreary, ask your doctor if you need a prescription for light therapy lamps on sunny days.

18) Live near the water .

Of course living near the oceancan be pricey – but there are other options available.The benefitsofliving near water (such as a river or lake) extend beyond the physical and mental health realm: they include reducing your risk for heart disease, high blood pressure and respiratory problems while increasingbonding time with family members.

20) Be positive .

People who are optimistic about the future may be less likely to experience cognitive decline such as memory loss , compared to those who worry all thetime. Focus on making plans for the year ahead and keep yourself occupied with new hobbies, pastimesand projects.

If you pay attention to these 20 tips for healthy aging, you’ll be ableto avoid cognitive declinein old age – or at least minimize its effects until something else brings it on !