Use it or Lose It!

When it comes to protecting the brain, it’s thought that certain lifestyle factors may help your brain to stay healthy. Neuroscientists suggest that by keeping your mind active, taking exercise and maintaining social interactions, you can help to reduce your risk of developing dementia.

The brain is a learning machine. To keep it strong, you must continually develop new skills. In other words… keep pushing those boundaries!

upgrade brain

Here are seven ways to keep your brain active and healthy as outlined by Prof Ian Robertson, Professor of  Psychology at Trinity College, Dublin…

1. Physical Fitness: Take aerobic exercise… exercise that gets your pulse racing a bit. Fast walking for 20-30 mins a day, is good for your brain and your heart. If you’re not used to taking regular exercise, get checked out by your doctor first. 

2. Mental stimulation: Do something new and engaging… maybe volunteering. Find something you love doing. Engage with other people. This is a critical protective factor.

3. New learningWe get lazy as we get older. We should all be constantly learning. Learn a language/learn to sing/improve your computer skills.

4. Reduce stress: A bit of stress is not a bad thing. Challenge is good for us… pushing the boundaries. However, prolonged and severe stress is detrimental to brain function. Find a method to reduce stress… music/self-help books/yoga/meditation/relaxation.

5. Keep socially active: The denser a person’s social network, the less likely they are to be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Other people are a source of enrichment of the brain. Maintain social contacts.

6. Eat a healthy diet: What’s good for your heart is good for your brain. Eat fish (omega 3)/veg/fruits (richly coloured) and keep to a low saturated fat diet.

7. Think and behave young: How you behave and act, feeds back into your brain and changes it. Don’t adopt the behaviours of being old… stooped posture etc. Stand upright and think and behave younger than you are.

You can listen back to *Marian Finucane’s interview with Prof Ian Robertson here.

*Marian Finucane… RTE Radio 1, Saturday/Sunday 11-1pm… live stimulating mix of news, interviews, reports and discussion.

6 Responses to Use it or Lose It!

  1. Kamila says:

    Hi Steph! Finally, you are back! I’ve been thinking about you.I hope that you haven’t been writing a lot simply because you are in sound health and there is nothing to write about and that .I will keep you in my thoughts.

    • Steph says:

      Hi! Kamila

      It’s lovely to hear from you again and well done for braving the comment system! I don’t deserve to have any followers having abandoned my blog for so long.

      I’ve always plenty to write about but these days I find that my hips seize up if I sit for any length of time so I prefer to keep on the move. I’ll email you shortly as I’m keen to hear how you’re getting on.

  2. Jeanie says:

    Good stuff Steph xx

  3. Alex says:

    Great to hear you are back! Looking forward to hearing how you are. I am in the fortunate position of being very well and can only hope you are getting back on track. x

    • Steph says:

      Alex… how lovely to hear from you again. And, I’m very happy to hear that you’re keeping well…. cause to celebrate!

      I will update my blog as soon as I can. As I’m writing this, I’m listening to the radio which is playing Kelly Clarkson’s “What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger, stronger”

      How appropriate :D

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