Sometimes it seems that everything the doctor orders can be uncomfortable, unpleasant or boring. Fortunately, research is showing that our brains benefit and even thrive on many activities that give pleasure and zest to life. While not proven to prevent dementia, studies have found a lower risk of Alzheimer's is associated with some of the things we love to do best.
- Socialize. An active social life is connected with better brain health––and isolation and loneliness are associated with higher risks of death and dementia. In fact, real life social networks can be better for your health than exercising.
- Take a trip. An eight-year study found those who stuck to their rooms or immediate home had almost twice the risk of developing Alzheimer’s as those who got up, out and about––good reason to take that long-awaited trip.
- Enjoy Sex. Orgasm floods the brain with oxygen-rich blood, pleasure- producing dopamine and may provoke growth of new brain cells. No partner? No problem, say the experts: Orgasms have that good effect whatever the source.
- Relax. Stress contributes to inflammation and a host of bad effects on body and brain that increase risks of dementia. Meditation, yoga and tai chi are connected with better brain function, but you may find relaxation through a soothing walk in the countryside or an engaging hobby.
- Be Creative. The long-term productivity of many artists, musicians and writers is testimony to the good effects of creative endeavors on the brain. And you don’t have to be a pro: a study of seniors enrolled in weekly art activities found they had significantly better physical and mental health than those who weren’t so occupied.
"Judith Horstman elegantly describes the well-aged brain, and what the latest research suggests to preserve its power and its function." Mehmet Oz, MD, Professor of Surgery, and star of The Dr. Oz Show.
". . .a trusty guide to vibrant later years. Any baby boomer would be smart to read this book -- and so be likelier to stay smart longer." Daniel Goleman, Author The Brain and Emotional Intelligence.
"A must read for all aging brains!" Marc Agronin, MD, geriatric psychiatrist and author of How We Age.
". . . an indispensable user's manual, essential for keeping your brain young and healthy as the cerebral odometer ticks away." R. Douglas Fields, author of The Other Brain.
"The brightest star in the brain-book galaxy has been Sacramento science writer Judith Horstman. Her straightforward approach, writing style and sense of wit in four books make understanding our brains' workings and quirky behaviors easier than ever." -- Allen Pierleoni, The Sacramento Bee