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Advice on Preventing Alzheimer's

Written by Keith Rockmael

Use your brain or lose it. Evidence suggests exercising your mind now may help to prevent Alzheimer's disease later.

Use it or lose it. Many of us immediately think of a tight bod when we hear these words, but think again. People are aware of the importance of keeping the body healthy, eating right, doing all those sit-ups, running and yoga. But how often do you think of doing something for your brain? It's time you started. Brain exercises may lesson the risk of Alzheimer's disease.

Tips for Prevention

Participate in intellectual activities such as reading.
Avoid passive activities, such as watching television.
Engage in physical activities, such as playing racquetball or gardening, may help to prevent Alzheimer's.

Evidence suggests that it's not so bad to sit home on your rocking chair, but only if you're doing a crossword puzzle, reading (pick something good, no trashy romance novels) or even knitting. According to research presented by the American Academy of Neurology, people who were physically active or stayed mentally active by playing a musical instrument, doing jigsaw puzzles, playing cards, board games or similar activities were less likely to develop Alzheimer's disease later in life than those who were not.

"People who were less active were more than three times more likely to have Alzheimer's disease as compared to those who were more active," said Dr. Robert Friedland, the author of the study who is a neurologist at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and University Hospitals in Cleveland.

Kill Your TV
There are a handful of good shows on TV but it's still a good idea to kill your television. People who engaged in passive activities, such as watching television or attending religious services, received none of the protection against Alzheimer's disease enjoyed by those who engaged in intellectual and physical activities.

"A relative increase in the amount of time devoted to intellectual activities from early adulthood (ages 20 to 39) to mid-adulthood (ages 40 to 60) was associated with a significant decrease in the probability of having Alzheimer's disease later in life," Friedland noted.

So if you can't make it to the gym as often as you'd like, lift a book or two and give your brain some exercise.

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