Be physically active – Regular moderate exercise is one of the best ways to reduce the risk of dementia, increase your cardiovascular health and improve your mental well-being. & # 39; Regular & # 39; means exercising five times each week for 30 minutes each time. You can gradually build this up. & # 39; moderate & # 39; Exercise means doing an activity that leaves you a little breath, increases your heart rate and can make you slightly sweaty. Exercising like this causes many health benefits even if you do not lose. Activities can include quick hiking, biking, swimming or dancing. You don't have to go to the gym or run a marathon. You can join a walking group, try a class at your leisure center, or go dancing with friends. Try to cycle to work, go to school, get off the bus twice before and go or take the stairs instead of the elevator. There are now plenty of portable gadgets or smartphone apps that record how active you have been.
Stop smoking – If you smoke, stop. It's better to stop smoking faster (or better yet, never start), but it's never too late to finish. Even if you stop smoking in later life, it will benefit your overall health and reduce the risk of dementia. NHS Stop Smoking advisors can provide information, advice and support on how to stop coming. You may be able to refer yourself or consult your doctor or local pharmacy. Many people now use e-cigarettes that provide nicotine without the harmful tobacco smoke to help them quit smoking. For more information about stopping, call the NHS Go Smokefree guide at 0300 123 1044.
eat healthy – A healthy balanced diet contains plenty of fruits and vegetables. Target for five servings a day. Fresh, frozen and preserved fruits and vegetables all count. A healthy diet also has fish at least twice a week, including oily fish (eg mackerel, salmon, sardines) containing healthy polyunsaturated (omega-3) fatty acids and vitamin D. Adding starchy foods (eg, potatoes, brown rice, bread) and protein (eg, meat, fish, eggs, beans) will also help you maintain a balanced diet. After a "Mediterranean" kind of diet is good for your cardiovascular health and can reduce the risk of dementia. This diet is high in vegetables, fruits and cereals. Fats are mainly unsaturated (eg olive oil) with very little saturated fat (eg cakes, biscuits, butter, most cheeses). A Mediterranean diet also has some fish, poultry, eggs and dairy, but only a small amount of red or processed meat. To eat healthy, limit sugary treats such as fizzy drinks and sweets and watch your salt intake, especially salt hidden in bread, pizza and ready meals. Read the labels on foods to see what they contain or look for healthier (reduced fat or salt) options. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist if you are considering taking a vitamin or mineral supplement.
Maintain a healthy weight – Keeping a healthy weight will reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, stroke and heart disease – and therefore probably for dementia. As well as weight, keep an eye on the waist as fat around the middle is particularly unhealthy. A good starting point is to follow the instructions on exercise and maintain a healthy diet. Keep a diary on your food intake and exercise every day – you're more likely to lose weight if you're passionate about what you eat. Visit the NHS Live Well pages for ideas such as eating smaller portions at meals. Alcohol contains hidden calories, so be aware of how much you drink. You can also consider joining a local weight loss group. If you have tried to make changes without success, your doctor may also offer advice.
Drink alcohol within recommended levels (if at all) – If you drink, keep below the recommended NHS levels. These changed in 2016 and are now a maximum of 14 units each week for men and women, spread over three or more days. This is the same as four or five large glasses of wine during the week, or seven pints of beer or lager with lower alcohol content. To check how much you drink, record your units during the week – and be honest. If you want to cut down, set yourself a limit every time you drink (and hold it). You can also try smaller glasses, drinks with a lower alcohol content, drink with food or alternatively soft and alcoholic drinks. If you really find it a struggle to cut down, talk to your doctor about what support is available.
Keep mentally active – If you want to stimulate yourself, you are likely to reduce the risk of dementia. Regular mental activity throughout the life of a person appears to increase the brain's ability. This helps build a "cognitive reserve" and allows the brain to cope better with the disease. (This correlation between brain activity and dementia is sometimes described as "Use it or lose it.") Keeping mental active can help delay the symptoms of dementia by several years. It can even mean you never get it. You can try to learn a new language, make puzzles (eg word searches, crosswords, Sudoku), playing cards, reading challenging books, or writing letters. Find something entertaining that stimulates your mind, does it regularly and continues to do so. There is not yet enough evidence to add the computer brain games to this list, despite claims from some manufacturers. Advantages of brain training so far are modest. They can make you better for a particular task practiced in the game, but greater benefits to your mind or daily life are largely untested so far. No one has been shown to reduce the risk of developing dementia, although there are plenty of research and new studies that are constantly reporting. Reducing your risk of dementia means living a healthy lifestyle and keeping you physically, mentally and socially active.
Be social – There is emerging evidence of keeping socially committed and having a supportive social network can reduce the risk of dementia. It will also make you less prone to depression and more resistant. Try to visit family and friends, look for grandchildren, travel or volunteers. You may try to join a social / activity club or group of worship places.
Take control of your health – Managing your health can reduce the risk of dementia. If you are invited to an NHS Health Check (in England), be sure to go. By this free midlife & # 39; MOT & # 39; a healthcare professional will talk to you and measure your cardiovascular risk factors (eg blood pressure, weight, cholesterol). If necessary, you can then accept a plan to reduce your own risk of cardiovascular disease and dementia. In Wales you can visit the Add to Your Life website for a self-assessment. In Northern Ireland you can contact Northern Ireland's breast, heart and stroke (see & # 39; Other Useful Organizations & # 39;). You can keep track of your weight or measure your blood pressure at home anytime with a simple screen. If you feel you may be depressed, seek treatment early. If you are already living with a long-term condition (eg diabetes, heart disease or high blood pressure), it is important to keep this under control. Follow professional advice on taking medication – even if you are comfortable – and in lifestyle, such as. Diet and exercise.