With the number of Australians living with dementia continuing to rise, keeping our brains healthy is an important priority. We take a look at some simple ways we can help boost our brain health.
There’s plenty of evidence supporting the physical and mental benefits of a healthy lifestyle and regular exercise. But this could be even more important for our brains, with recent research showing that at least one in three cases of dementia could be prevented by adopting a healthier lifestyle.
Dementia Australia, the national peak body for dementia, estimates that 413,000 people have dementia in Australia, and this is projected to increase to over 1.1 million people by 2056.
While there are no guaranteed preventative measures or cures, research suggests that the risk of developing dementia may be reduced by taking action now to improve our lifestyle and brain health.
And this doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive, either.
Dementia Australia’s “Your Brain Matters” program is a great place to start. The program is based on scientific evidence that certain health and lifestyle factors are linked to how our brains work, as well as to the risk of developing dementia.
Maximising brain health
“Your Brain Matters” aims to help us look after our brain health better and reduce risk. Their resources include information and tips, videos, quizzes and other tools as well as resources in a range of languages.
One of the “Your Brain Matters” tools is the 5 Simple Steps to Maximise Your Brain Health program:
Step One – Look after your heart
Step Two – Be physically active
Step Three – Mentally challenge your brain
Step Four – Follow a healthy diet
Step Five – Enjoy social activity.
Each step comes with a range of information about risk factors and practical tips for improving our health and brain function.
Give your brain a new challenge
As well as looking after our physical health, an important way to improve our brain health is to keep our brain active and challenge ourselves mentally with new activities. Things like learning a new skill or a sport, or enrolling in a course, are great ways to keep those brain cells working.
We’ve taken up the challenge here at Banksia and introduced a weekly “brain buster” to keep those brain cells working – head on over to our Facebook page to find out more.
As they say in the classics, “it’s never too late”. And it’s certainly never too late to start looking after our brains!