June 21st, 2022
Each year, 76 000 Canadians are diagnosed with dementia. Luckily there are many things you can do to reduce the chances of being one of them – including taking proper care of your body and mind. Here’s a closer look at how to do that:
How to Slow Brain Aging
Tip #1: Engage in Regular Exercise
Exercise increases the growth hormone (GH) and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). BDNF, in particular, plays a critical role in ensuring the growth and maintenance of nerve cells. In turn, this helps keep your memory and learning skills in tip-top shape.
Meanwhile, the growth hormone is essential for cellular hyperplasia, as well as stimulation of the myelin which is the protective layer surrounding all nerves in the brain and spinal cord. Through regular exercise, you can increase both of these entities, helping improve and maintain cognitive function.
(If you don’t know how to do functional exercises or aren’t sure what to do, the Nielsen Fitness team is ready to help. We offer in-home fitness programs and even virtual trainers, helping you get in the best shape of your life in whatever way you’re most comfortable doing so.)
Tip #2: Try (Mild) Intermittent Fasting
Fasting sounds extreme – but it doesn’t have to be, and it has the potential to offer many benefit, including brain regeneration.
In fact, some research even explores the use of fasting as a treatment for cognitive decline. When you fast, your body triggers autophagy, which is the body’s way of getting rid of damaged cells to make way for newer and healthier ones. In turn, this can help regenerate nerve cells, helping you maintain optimal brain health.
In most cases, eating dinner at a reasonable hour and avoiding snacking afterwards leads to a 12+ hour fast. As with anything, though, it’s best to discuss this with your doctor if you’re considering it.
Tip #3: Make Sure You Eat Enough Key Macronutrients
Arguably, no single macronutrient is better than any other – but it’s a fact that protein and fat are essential for brain health. This means you want to ensure you’re obtaining enough healthy fats in your diet, such as EPA and DHA. Examples of foods that contain these types of fats include fatty fish, walnuts, flaxseed, and oysters.
Tip #4: Perform Brain Exercises
Regularly performing brain exercises, such as Wordle or memory games, can keep your brain guessing and learning, promoting neural plasticity. On top of this, brain exercises that help you relax, such as deep breathing and meditation, can help keep your thoughts sharp and clear.
Tip #5: Work With a Trainer
With exercise, you want to keep your body guessing and adjusting. Similar to how you would enhance your mental literacy by reading a book, enhancing your physical literacy can stimulate positive neural effects.
Changing your terrain with certain exercises can help with this, keeping your body and brain fluid. Additionally, with HIIT, the cerebral benefits are enormous—even helping reverse age-related effects at the cellular level.
Guidance to Switch Things uP
If you’re ever not sure how to switch things up or you need guidance on simply getting started, our team at Nielsen Fitness is here to help. Reach out to us today and learn how you can age in the most graceful way possible!