Employee Assistance Program → Shady Grove Health Tips → Brain Health
The latest research calls exercise the single most important tool people have to optimize brain function. It has been found that exercise can delay cognitive decline by seven to ten years.
Over 90 percent of Americans report high levels of stress at least several times a week. And stress has been identified as the single biggest contributor to depression. Depression affects memory and slows brain metabolism.
A body mass index of 30 or more is associated with double the risk of dementia. With those who also have high cholesterol or high blood pressure, the risk is six times higher.
A large study found that people who engaged in leisure activities such as learning to play a musical instrument or dancing were less likely to develop dementia. The brain requires changes such as new skills, hobbies, and activities that cause it to remodel itself.
Many experts believe that social isolation may create a chronically stressful condition that accelerates aging. Harvard researchers found that those with at least five social ties were less likely to suffer cognitive decline. Social engagement appears to boost people's sense of control, which affects their stress level.
L.A. Times; CBS; AARP; Brain Foundation; Time; NIH; New York Times; Making a Good Brain Great: The Amen Clinic Program for Achieving and Sustaining Optimal Mental Performance by Daniel Amen, M.D.; U.S. News & World Report; USA Today, Spark – The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain by John J. Ratey, M.D.; 10 Essentials of Highly Healthy People by Walt Larimore, M.D.; and Washington and Shady Grove Adventist Hospitals. The Fact Sheet of the Month is for educational purposes only. For additional information, consult your physician. Please feel free to copy and distribute this health resource.