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Some reminders for healthy living for all. Just to say I’m not sure I agree with the title of the USA Today piece but still good to take a peek at the the post.

Here are some specific, evidence-based recommendations from Snyder, Arnold and others:

Exercise:

Aerobic activity three times a week for 40 minutes is strongly supported by research. That’s not taking a stroll looking at shop windows, but actually breaking a sweat and elevating your heart rate.

Sleep:

The symptoms of sleep disorders can be similar to dementia, so it’s important to identify and address sleep problems, said Alvaro Pascual-Leone, a neurologist at Harvard Medical School and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Medications, late-night exercise and alcohol can also interfere with sleep quality and length. Typically, adults should get between seven and nine hours of sleep daily, he said.

Nutrition:

Snyder, Arnold and Pascual-Leone all  recommend a heart-healthy Mediterranean diet, rich in plant-based foods such as vegetables, fruits, legumes and whole grains, with healthy fats such as olive oil instead of butter, and a minimal amount of processed foods and sweets.

Keeping mentally active:

Crossword puzzles aren’t enough to challenge your brain, Pascual-Leone said, if you’re already a regular puzzle doer.  Instead, pick up new skills like learning to dance or paint or do math problems — something that’s challenging and a little outside your comfort zone, he said. “It’s not about coasting into old age with the activities you like to do, but encountering the kinds of challenges our kids go through” when they study subjects as varied as math, history and foreign language, Pascual-Leone said. Online brain-training programs, like Lumosity by Lumos Labs and BrainHQ from Posit Science, can be helpful if done frequently enough, said Pascual-Leone who earlier this month opened a brain fitness center at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston to engage patients in brain training and other lifestyle improvements.

Limiting stress:

Some stress is clearly good for the brain, but too much can be toxic. There’s growing evidence that things like mindfulness meditation and yoga are good for the brain, Arnold said.

Adding a link to the Alzheimer’s Association for more information.

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