This is the year of 50 for me and my high school buds. As I have witnessed my parents dementia’s, I pledged early on to lead a different life. I believe what Dr. Oz told me when I appeared on the show, and have found many other research studies confirming that your risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s is more closely tied to your lifestyle than your heredity.
Parade Magazine recently shared the 5 Surprising Tips on Staying Vital and they include:
1) Start prevention early since the process can begin 20 to 30 years before you have symptoms.
2) A few simple changes will help you fight a whole range of disease — smoking is forbidden and one hour of aerobic exercise daily is recommended. They also mention strength training and I was surprised when I recently learned that with every decade, you lose 10% of your muscle. The only way to combat it is to increase your training.
3) Helping your body helps your brain. The article states that “aerobic exercise is more important in enhancing brain function and memory than any other activity.”
4) Being social plays a huge role in preventing dementia. I have worked very hard on this but have found it immensely rewarding.
5) Moderate amounts of Alcohol are healthy. After I witnessed my Dad’s inability to stop drinking (he thought every drink was his second), I considered eliminating alcohol all-together. However, I have just worked on changing my habits instead of going def-con five.
In line with my effort to socialize, even with a 6 a.m. start looming, I met two friends out last night to visit. One was only in town for the night. We celebrated our 50th birthday together. As we were chatting, one commented that she wanted to live to be 100. Two of us groan. I have no desire to live a life without quality, so I’m not sure I’m willing to just say I want to live to be 100. The second groaner is watching her mother progress into Alzheimer’s and said she felt doomed. I told her we are in no way doomed and she even shared the many ways she was living a life very different from her mom.
May we all find the balance and ability to work to prevent the pesky inconveniences of aging. 50 is the new 30, right? Cherished.
3 thoughts on “You want to live to be 100?”
Dear Kay, wonderful to celebrate your birthday with friends. Although I am a little older, I can relate to your efforts to spread the word about what lifestyle changes can be done to improve our quality of life. Things we do now, today, decisions we make now, today, can make a difference.We have so much more information at our fingertips. What we know now was not known to my mother, if she had never smoked, that might have minimised the vascular dementia she developed. May I share some information with you about Minimizing Risk of Dementia to share with your friends?
Nothing is scarier than the thought that one day we may have to deal with the D word, dementia. The specter of dementia for some, can be a source of apprehension as we age. Until this decade, most of us accepted that if we had the genes for Alzheimer’s, we were destined to develop it, and if our parents had suffered this cruel condition, we were up next.
It’s true, we can’t change our DNA, but recent research finds that we can minimize the risk of developing this heartbreaking, life destroying condition in all its forms by taking certain steps in our lifestyles, starting with, you guessed it…..steps. Scientists have concluded that exercise is a major factor in minimizing the risk of developing dementia as we age. It turns out that taking care of your body translates to taking care of your brain, and a healthy, active brain resists dementia.
An important British study published last year concluded that men who consistently followed an exercise regimen, along with other healthy behaviors, experienced 60 per cent fewer cases of dementia and cognitive decline. It appears that exercise that is good for the heart is also good for the brain, including a regular cardiac workout, such as walking, dancing, running, swimming or whatever gets your heart rate up. A regular regimen of safe exercise, even 30 minutes a day five days a week, is beneficial.
Other factors in the study includ a healthy diet, as important to brain function as it is to the waistline. Eating a diet high in fruits and vegetables, with plenty of Omega 3 fats, such as the Mediterranean diet, low in trans and saturated fats and eaten in more frequent, smaller portions, is the goal. A healthy diet will also help ensure a healthy weight, another of the behaviors highlighted in the UK study, along with eliminating smoking and keeping alcohol use to a minimum.
We’ve also learned that certain activities also increase our ability to stave off dementia, including:
• Get Quality Sleep – Follow a regular sleep schedule and get plenty of rest. Beauty sleep also makes for beautiful brain health.
• Stimulate Your Brain – Puzzles, riddles and brain teasers are fun ways to fight your risk of dementia, as well as being a lifelong learner, tackling new challenges, exploring and investigating the world around you.
• Socialize – Have fun, enjoy friends, reach out to neighbors and family and maintain an active social life. Join a club, host a potluck dinner or volunteer in your community. Find what you enjoy and get going.
• Stop stressing! – Stress isn’t good for anything, but it is particularly destructive of key memory areas of the brain, increasing the risk of dementia. Relaxation techniques, deep breathing, meditation, prayer, massage or even a long, hot bath can help keep you sharp. Find what works for you, and relax.
The prospect of developing dementia doesn’t wield the power to terrify us that it once did, if we are willing to mobilize our own power, as you have done, is to minimize its risks in our lives.
I have added to the posting. I read that learning something new was more valuable than doing puzzles or brain teasers. Doing the puzzles is better than nothing, but not as valuable as the firms putting them out seem to promise. I hope to have Dr. Cynthia Green who wrote a book on Total Brain Health and was the medical guest on Dr. Oz share her thoughts on the topic in a future post. Thanks for sharing.
Thank you, I believe you have made a really great point. I lead a healthy minds program. What I have found is that people make choices about what works for them and that is really important. I look forward to Dr Greens post.