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Keep the Brain Healthy

2 bicyclistsDid you know that your brain, like the rest of your body, needs good nutrition and exercise? Keeping your brain healthy and active is just as important as keeping your body healthy and active. You only have one brain. Following a few simple steps may help you keep the brain healthy.

  • Eat healthy (My HealtheVet) - make sure to include foods that contain B vitamins and antioxidants

  • Get regular exercise (My HealtheVet) - exercise increases oxygen to the brain

  • Sleep (My HealtheVet) - getting enough sleep can help you think better and stay focused

  • Do not smoke (My HealtheVet) - smoking increases the risk of stroke and other brain disorders

  • Manage stress (Healthfinder.gov) ongoing stress can damage the memory portion of the brain

  • Protect your head (US Consumer Product Safety Commission) - a hit to the head can result in injury to the brain so wear a safety helmet when riding your bike or playing a sport

  • Keep alcohol in check (Drinker's Check Up) - too much alcohol can impair your memory and affect the brain

  • Only take medications your provider approves (Medline Plus®) - misuse of drugs and medications can cause long-term affects to the brain

Mental Exercise

chess pieces on a chess boardJust like your body needs physical exercise, your brain needs mental exercise. Engaging the brain every day helps it stay alert and active. Playing brain games are not only fun, they are a great way to exercise the brain. There are many brain games available. Some you can do by yourself such as teasers, crossword puzzles, Sudoku, picture puzzles and more. Some you can do with others like playing a game of cards or playing board games. There are many computer games that you can play by yourself or with others.

Talk with your health care provider if you have concerns. Let them know about any short or long term memory problems.

Active Learning

  • Track Health (My HealtheVet) allows a registered My HealtheVet user to record and track your health information in one convenient location. Record your screening tests and immunizations for reference. Record and monitor your blood pressure, body weight and more in the Vitals + Readings section. Even see a graph of your progress. You can also journal your exercise routine and food intake in the Journals section. My HealtheVet has provided dozens of way to manage your health care. Start tracking your health today!

  • Exercising for a Healthy Life (Medline Plus®) - learn how exercising and becoming more active may improve your health

  • Managing Stress (Medline Plus®) - a learning activity that shows you how to manage everyday stress

  • Medication Safety: Taking an Active Role (Healthcare 411)

Read

  • What is Healthy Living? (My HealtheVet) practicing healthy living generally makes people feel good and have more energy than people who do not practice healthy habits.

  • Aging changes in the nervous system (Medline Plus®) there is some evidence that both physical and mental exercise can help maintain thinking abilities.

  • 8 Areas of Age Related Changes (Medline Plus®) as adults age, many worry that they are becoming more forgetful. They think forgetfulness is the first sign of Alzheimer's Disease (AD). In the past, memory loss and confusion were accepted as a part of growing older. However, scientists now know that people can remain both alert and able as they age


Updated/Reviewed: March 1, 2011